Last month, Chrysler garnered plenty of attention with an inventive gas deal that promised customers three years of cheap gas. The deal goes like this: With the purchase of a new Chrysler vehicle, the manufacturer promises to pay the difference between any current gas price and a controlled price of $2.99, leaving customers to enjoy relatively cheap gas for the first three years of ownership. When the deal was announced, it was only good through the end of May, but now Chrysler has extended the offer through July 7.
It’s a brilliant bit of marketing — gas is on every potential car buyer’s mind these days — but after we dusted off our math skills, we found the deal to be slightly less bang for the buck than Chrysler’s former cash incentives. Those offered up to $2,500 cash back on some models before last month, when they were lowered to $1,000. Still, the gas was a decent deal, even at the then-national average of $3.761 per gallon.
Every month Chrysler extends the gas deal is another month of higher fuel prices, and the more the cost of fuel keeps increasing, the more appealing the deal looks. A hypothetical Chicago resident — where, at $4.30 per gallon, we now have the most expensive gas in the country — could save $2,358 on a 20-mpg Dodge Journey. That’s a genuine savings over the $1,000 cash back offer.