A friend of mine is going car shopping right now. She did in fact read my posts on the subject, and said she felt prepared – aww, I feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside now. One of the cars she was considering was a Dodge. It just so happens that she was considering it because of Dodge’s “$2.99 Gas Guarantee”. You know the one – this is where they sell you fuel at $2.99 / gallon for the next three years, up to 12,000 miles per year.
A simple check of the math demonstrated that this wasn’t a very good deal. Let’s assume that gas is $4.50 / gallon, averaged over the next three years. If the Dodge vehicle in question gets 25 mpg:
12,000 miles / 25 mpg = 480 gallons per year that qualify for the $2.99 rate
$2.99 times 480 = $1435.20
$5 times 480 = $2160
$2160 – $1435.20 = $724.80
$724.80 times three years = $2174.40 actual savings
In reality, that figure will be slightly different. Gas is likely to go up, but then again, it’s $3.75 / gal right now, and will probably sink a little lower as we approach November.
So in other words, that’s similar to (but not quite as good as) getting a $2174.80 discount off the price of the car. Considering that other, more fuel-efficient builders like Honda, Toyota, VW, and even Hyundai / Kia are all offering hefty multi-thousand-dollar rebates right now, the Dodge offer isn’t a very good competitive deal. Of course, if you happen to like the Dodge for other reasons and already have your mind set, then it’s icing on the cake.
As I was typing this up, I realized that I forgot to put up my final part in the car buying series. I’ll whip something together over the next few days. I know that more than one car dealership is reading this blog, and if any sales reps have any advice that they’d like to submit (anonymously, of course), drop me a line.