As we calculated this morning, the incentive will likely only save a driver a few hundred bucks a year. As ABG reader Dan pointed out in a comment on the original post, buyers need to give up any other incentives currently available in order to get the gas card, and some of those deals are much bigger than $1,200 (the gas plan is in effect for three years). Automotive News is reporting that the Union of Concerned Scientists has got their own phrase for the plan: a "cynical deal." Here's the kicker, the Union's statement continues:
But a mere 3-mpg boost would yield the same savings over the 15,000 miles per year typically driven in the first three years of ownership. Over the lifetime of a vehicle, such a fuel economy increase would save drivers more than $3,000. It wouldn't stop saving drivers money after just three years.
Still, Suzuki knows a way to attracts potential buyer eyeballs when it sees one, and has announced its own fuel program: buy a new Suzuki before the end of June and get three months of free - totally free - fuel. Of course, if you think $400 a year isn't a good reason to buy a new car, don't bother doing the math on three months of no cost fuel. The automakers are playing on fears of high gas prices and hope you can't, or don't, do the math.
[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd) via Autoblog]