Convertible top down, wind blowing through your hair, cruising down the open road. Is that how your summer road trip usually goes? Mine is more of a mad scramble to throw things in the car, over-packing or under-packing every time, and then realizing there’s barely enough gas in the car to make it to the gas station, let alone the final destination.
This summer, one company is offering a promotion that could help you solve that problem (the gas problem, that is, not the forgetting-your-toothbrush problem). Just enter Sunoco’s Free Fuel 5000 contest for a chance at winning $5,000 worth of free gas.
It’s super simple. Just slap a decal on your car and, if you’re spotted by judges, you win a gift card on the spot and you receive an entry to the $5,000 grand prize drawing.
How Does the Contest Work?
First, you must be a legal resident of one of 48 U.S. states or D.C. (sorry, New Jersey and Virginia) and 18 years of age or older. This promotion runs from July 1 through August 31, 2015. The sooner you get a decal and put it on your car, the greater your chances of being seen by a “third-party spotter” out looking for stickers.
To obtain a decal, go to a Sunoco retailer and ask for a free decal (list of locations available on their website) or hop on Sunoco’s Facebook page and request one. If you prefer, you could also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with proper postage (along with a 3-by-5-inch card with your name, home mailing address, age and phone number) to 2015 Sunoco Free Fuel 5000 Sweepstakes Decal Request, PO Box 5014, Department 817510, Kalamazoo MI 49003-5941. You can get one decal per request.
Win Free Gas
Once you have your decal, put it on your car in a visible location such as your bumper or rear window and drive around past participating locations; hopefully an “official representative” will see you. These third-party spotters will be looking for vehicles bearing the decals in 11 different regions throughout the country, including Florida, the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, New York Metro area, Upstate New York, Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania, New England, the Midwest, Ohio and Texas.
The official rules say, “If you are at or near a participating Sunoco, Price Chopper, or Shop ‘n Save retailer, and if a Spotter spots the Decal on your vehicle, the Spotter will approach you, determine your eligibility to participate based on these Official Rules, and collect your personal information, including a valid mailing address.”
Once the spotter sees you and determines you’re a winner, you’ll receive a $10 Sunoco card on the spot and be entered into the Grand Prize competition for a $5,000 gift card. Don’t count on circling the block and racking up the prizes, though. You can only receive one first prize and one grand prize drawing entry each day.
What About Taxes?
If you win one of the 11 $5,000 Sunoco gift cards, you’ll also receive a check for $1,500 to cover the tax liability of the prize. This is a great deal, since many contests leave the winners on their own to deal with taxes.
Of course, Sunoco doesn’t guarantee that the $1,500 will fully cover your tax liability, but it should at least defray a good chunk of it if you’re lucky enough to be a winner.
How Else Can You Save On a Summer Road Trip?
Winning a $5,000 gas card is a great way to save on your summer roadtrip. But how else can you save?
Cruising the country doesn’t have to be expensive. These tips and tricks can help you save on your summer road trip, including advice on how to avoid ATM fees, pay less for lodging and even save on car repairs. And, while free gas is the best kind, you can also use other tricks to save on gas or even download apps to help you find the cheapest gas in town.
Where Should I Go?
If you have all summer for your trip, consider taking the “best road trip ever,” created using an algorithm to hit the highlights of all 48 contiguous U.S. states. The trip was developed by Randy Olson, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University, and Discovery News Reporter Tracy Staedter.
If you don’t quite have time to visit all 48 contiguous U.S. states this summer, consider a shorter tour of some of the best national parks in the western half of the U.S. This route lets you use an $80 national park pass (which also gets you into other national parks and monuments for free) to hit the highlights along your way.
Your Turn: Where are you road-tripping this summer? What tips do you have to save?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.