Companies Dangle Free Gas Like It's Going Out Of Style

Last month Chrysler began offering consumers $2.99 per gallon gasoline for three years with purchase of most Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep vehicles. Now, as gasoline tops $4 a gallon, several companies are dangling free gasoline, and they aren't even in the car business.

Rite Aid is launching "Fill Up & Fuel Up," offering $30 gift cards and a chance to win a year's worth of gasoline ($2,600) to consumers who switch prescription fills to the retail pharmacy. The program, running through Jan. 10, offers one consumer a week - chosen from a random drawing -- a Gas Gift Card totaling $2,600, good at any gas station. New York and New Jersey are excluded.

"With gas prices continuing to climb, pretty soon one of the only trips people will be making is to their local pharmacy for necessities like prescriptions because we are in such nearby convenient neighborhood locations," said John Learish, Rite Aid SVP/marketing in a release. The offer is valid only on prescriptions not previously filled at or transferred from other Rite Aid locations.



Minnesota-based TCF Bank is doing likewise, offering new customers a $50 gas card for opening a TCF checking account. Like Rite Aid, the company will also award $1,000 free-gasoline cards every week to a consumer - customer or not (as long as they come into a TCF bank.)

Car rental companies are getting in on the act. Hertz is dangling a free tank of gas if you rent for at least three days, until June 30. Online travel agency is offering to pay half the gasoline costs of summer travelers up to $200, part of the company's "Travel Stimulus Program." The company is offering gas cards at half price for travel to drive-to destinations like New Orleans and Florida.

Even an amusement park is getting in on the action. Kalahari Waterpark Resorts, in Sandusky, Ohio, and Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., is offering people who arrive on a Sunday or Monday and stay four days $40 gas cards when they check out (plus $40 off their room rates for each of the four days.)

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