Chrysler has just announced what it calls the “Let’s Refuel America” program, which promises that you will pay $2.99 a gallon for gas for the next three years, no matter how high the actual cost may rise. Sounds easy huh? Sounds great too, huh? Well, I contacted a friend of mine who graduated from MIT to do the math the way it is laid out in the program. He was busy and promptly referred me to an MSNBC.com article that said someone buying a 2008 Dodge Durango would save just over $400 a year with an average three year gas price of $3.61 a gallon (the current average price in the Detroit area).
Hmmm… $400 a year for three years sounds a lot less than the $4000 rebates available on a 2008 Ford Explorer. I guess that means Ford wants you to have gas money, and a little something to spend on a drive away vacation, about $2800 worth of something!! Formula you ask? Why, yes, there is a formula involved where you factor in 12,000 miles per year, the vehicle’s government fuel economy rating and the cost of a gallon of gas. I don’t know about you, but any promotion that requires me to do more math than simply reducing my price by a pretty good chunk of coin makes me more than a little suspect… especially one that makes your savings a crap shoot. It also gives me a head ache.
To be honest, I have had it with fear mongering, and to be sure, this Chrysler promotion is nothing more than that. The formally American, then German, (then American again?) automaker is playing off the fear that more violence in the Middle East, or South America, or wherever will have an adverse affect on the oil supply and send gas prices ever higher, which is the only way you really come out ahead with this program. I don’t know, I’d rather drive around this summer and beyond in my new 2008 Ford Focus at nearly 40 miles per gallon, enjoying the car, my family, and the driving experience and not sit around rooting for more world unrest to inflate the price of gas… how about you?