Cheap Gas (If You Buy One of Our Cars that Guzzles Gas)…Huh?

I would like to call this smart customer relationship building, but it may reek too much of desperation to be a thing of genius. Chrysler is offering new car buyers the choice of the usual “cash-back” at signing, or – get this – cheap gas for the next three years.

On the one hand, Chrysler is definitely reaching out and talking to people about an issue that is certainly a pain point, and that’s just good sense. They are putting a number value to things, rather than the usual car ads that tout “being green” or having great MPG ratings (which we all know are skewed). On the other hand – it continues the stereotype of American cars as gas guzzling, inefficient beasts.

The promotion also got me thinking about larger issues. Has the high price of fuel become so institutionalized and accepted that a three-year cap on prices at $3 per gallon is considered a great deal?

I’m not saying that we can necessarily change gas prices, but in the “2.0” world, according to observers like my friend Paul Greenberg, the customer is controlling the conversation. If that is the case, why aren’t fuel companies listening?

The now beaten-to-death notion of oil companies seeing massive profits while blaming oil producing nations for high prices has done nothing to spark any major consumer-based resistance to oil company strongholds on price.

I would like to see the “Social Customer” and the whole web 2.0 generation get creative here. Do Something – Anything – if it can make a difference and send a message. We have talked about the shifting of power to the customer, I think forcing even the slightest relief in this area would be impressive and really sell the world on the fact that the world, especially the way we buy and sell, has changed.

I mean, come on, when it costs me more than $10 to fill up my MOTORCYCLE – it’s time for a change.

gas prices on the rise

…the price list at a local Silicon Valley station…