Chrysler Extends Fuel Promotion. Is It a Scam?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Chrysler's "Refuel America" promotion guarantees $2.99/gallon gas, diesel or E85 for three years. The deal was originally set to expire on June 2. The Detroit News announces that the struggling automaker's extending the offer through July 7. It sure sounds like a good deal… you get a gas card that's linked to your Visa or MasterCard credit card (no debit cards). When you buy gas, your card is billed at $2.99/gallon and Chrysler pays the rest – within certain limits. The cap is capped at the amount of fuel needed to go 12K miles based on the EPA combined mileage for your vehicle. If you try to use your gas/E85 card to buy diesel, or have a diesel card and try to buy gas/E85, you're charged "full pump price plus a $2 service fee per transaction." If gas drops below $2.99, you'll be charged at the lower price BUT the purchase will count against your annual allotment. Once you exceed your annual allotment, you'll be charged the full price until the next year's allotment kicks in– but if you don't use all of this years' allotment, the remainder is forfeited when the new allotment is activated. Oh, and if you follow all the rules and buy a Dodge Durango (the thirstiest car Chrysler sells excluding the excluded SRT models and Dodge Viper), you'll save around $600 a year, depending on local gas prices. Oh, did I mention you may have to forfeit other, more valuable incentives to qualify? Someone, somewhere is laughing.

Frank Williams
Frank Williams

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  • Brownie Brownie on May 21, 2008

    RF, How are they different? I see no deceptive advertising here - it may be a good deal or it may not, but where's the deception? And why the assumption that everyone else is so stupid?

  • Geotpf Geotpf on May 21, 2008

    This is just a fuel hedge. By accepting this bet over a bigger cash rebate, you are basically doing a small scale gasoline future. You are betting the price of gasoline will go up. Chrysler is betting it will go down. You become one of the evil "oil speculators" that everybody is (falsely) blaming on the increased cost of oil.

  • Brownie Brownie on May 21, 2008

    Geotpf: No, consumers cannot possibly be smart enough to forgo a fixed cash rebate in favor of a hedge of indeterminate value. They need US, the readers of TTAC, to protect them.

  • JK43123 JK43123 on May 21, 2008
    Sure, after reading the fine print, 99% of buyers will take in most cases the bigger incentives. Like they read the fine print on their mortgages? John