Recently, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep introduced their plan to protect humanity from evil gas prices, also known as their "Let's Refuel America" program:
Program participants use a special card linked to their MasterCard or Visa credit card account. The card may be used to purchase enough fuel at $2.99 per gallon to travel up to12,000 miles per year in each of the next 3 years. So no matter what the price at the pump says, you'll never have to pay more than $2.99 per gallon for qualifying fuel.In the face of high gas prices, such a program could be an enticing option for those in the market for a new car. But here are some facts which should be kept in mind:
1) While gas is a real cost of car ownership, it's not the most significant cost. The actual purchase price, and the cost of maintenance, are generally both more expensive than the cost of fuel.
2) Speaking of the actual purchase price, do you think that Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep is not somehow making back what they're losing on this gas deal? An old axiom remains true here, "there's no such thing as a free lunch." Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep has undoubtedly raised either their prices or interest rates to compensate for this program. Not to mention this next fact.
3) "To qualify, you must purchase or lease an eligible Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep vehicle from May 7 through July 7, 2008 and have a valid MasterCard or Visa credit card." What are these "eligible vehicles?" Are they certain models that generally don't sell well? If so, there's probably a reason they don't, and that reason probably has something to do with...
4) These are Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles we're talking about here. This is perhaps the most important fact of all. Jeeps are some of the least-reliable, most gas-guzzling cars on planet Earth. Chrylsers and Dodges are only marginally better.
So basically what I'm saying is there's a lot more to buying a car than the price of gas. I'll hand it to Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep for shrewd marketing. They're doing a good job attempting to capitalize on people's general annoyance with rising gas prices. But if you're willing to drive a