Cheap Gas for Your New Car

July 13, 2009
Michael Sheehan

You buy a new car and, and as a perk, you get a guarantee that you won’t pay more than $1.49 a gallon for gas for the next year. That’s the offer being promoted by Korean car maker Hyundai to new-car buyers.

Here’s the deal. You buy a new car and, and as a perk, you get a guarantee that you won’t pay more than $1.49 a gallon for gas for the next year. That’s the offer being promoted by Korean car maker Hyundai to new-car buyers. With gas prices running about $2.60 a gallon and many analysts expecting further price hikes, the offer is looking better every day. If you prefer cash, though, Hyundai will give you a $1,000 rebate in place of the cheap-gas guarantee, in addition to any other rebates that may apply.

Hyundai expects most buyers will take the cash. If you buy a Hyundai model with high gas mileage and you don’t rack up many miles in the coming year, the $1,000 rebate will put more money in your pocket than locking in lower gas prices, unless gas prices spike to last year’s levels of close to $4 a gallon. Still, the company predicts that about one-third of car buyers will opt for the cheap-gas deal. Hyundai buyers who take advantage of the offer get a special credit card that they use to buy gas. Any purchases at the pump are passed through to the buyer’s regular credit card at $1.49 a gallon, with Hyundai picking up the difference.

The cheap-gas promotion is just one part of Hyundai’s effort to rev up moribund auto sales. The company unveiled its Hyundai Assurance program last January, which allows buyers to return their car at no cost if they lose their jobs. Since the beginning of the year, the promotion has helped lift Hyundai sales by about 12%, according to a company spokesperson.