There may be no free lunch, but there is free gas!
The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen says it's as close as your nearest computer.
And with gas prices topping out above $3 and the summer driving season just around the corner, her report comes in the nick of time.
She found numerous Web sites offering relief for your pain at the pump, and visited with a Brooklyn, N.Y., demolition contractor who gets free gas for his hummer.
When Mike Amico bought it, he knew it'd be a gasoline guzzler. He was spending about $200 a week to fill its hungry tanks. But, says Koeppen, Amico turned his gas hog into a cash cow. This month, he'll get $100 in free gas.
How's he doing it?
He turned his hummer into a rolling billboard, agreeing to put a company's advertisement on his Hummer. In return, Amico gets a gift card to his favorite gas station.
Amico says fellow motorists "are definitely looking at" the ad, and "are definitely intrigued." He plans to put more signs on his truck, which will mean more free gas for him.
Amico told Koeppen he has "no problem whatsoever" putting ads on his vehicle: "NASCAR drivers do it, tennis players do it. Why not me?"
He works through a Web site called freegashelp.com, which pairs drivers with advertisers. To qualify, you need to drive at least 1,000 miles a month, your car needs to be in good condition, and you need to be the registered owner. Participants can get up to $200 (or more in certain cases) in free gas a month. Advertising options range from door magnets to complete vehicle ad coverage.
Go to page two of this story for many other Web sites offering free gas.
Hotels.com, which is running a gas rebate deal. Book two hotel nights or more online at hotels.com from now until May 29 for stays through July 10 and get up to $30 back by mail-in rebate.
BedandBreakfast.com, which resumed its "Tanks a Lot" promotion early for the third season because of high gas prices. It usually starts in June, but launched in April this year. Offers vary by inn, but typically will be a $25 gas rebate, discounts on multi-night stays, or vouchers for dinner. To find participating inns, go to BedandBreakfast.com, click "advanced search," then "special package." Choose "free gas promotion" from the dropdown box.
Eldorado Hotel & Spa in Santa Fe, N.M., for the second year in the row, is offering $50 gas rebates for Sunday-Thursday stays through July. Provide receipt at checkout and $50 dollars is taken off the bill instantly! Room rates start at $169 a night. 1-800-955-4455
Nashville-based ResortQuest is providing $50 in gas to guests who stay at one of its 17,000 properties in the United States and Canada. The "Gas Up & Go" offer is good through December. The program requires a three-, five- or seven-night stay, depending on location. Purchase your own gas, then mail in the receipt to receive the redemption. Good for any gas station. 1-877-582-1847
Aspen's "Free Gas & Deals on Wheels"provides $50 in gas at the Aspen Store and free parking for visitors who book two or more nights at any participating lodge. Visitors also get two free passes per reservation to the Aspen, Colo. Recreation Center, two bus passes to the Maroon Bells peaks, and a one-day bicycle rental. 1-800-670-0788
The Chattanoogan, which bills itself as "Tennessee's urban resort," offers its "We'll Get You Home" package, which includes a $20 gas card, through Sept. 30. The package, starting at $129 a night for at least two nights, includes free valet parking and use of the hotel's facilities, such as the health and fitness club. 1-877-756-1684
Hotel Royal Plaza: One of the member properties of the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, the Hotel Royal Plaza is offering a $10 gas card for stays during May. Guests will receive one complementary gas card upon check-in, per room booked. Reservations should be booked through the Auto Club South Web site. For more information about Hotel Royal Plaza, visit downtowndisneyhotels.com and click on the Hotel Royal Plaza page.
Hawthorn Suites Universal is running a promotion that offers anyone staying two nights or more and with travel dates of May 3 and Sept. 30 a $10 gas card. They will receive this gift card upon check-in. Rates start at $89.95 per night for a one bedroom suite with fully equipped kitchen and separate living room. Includes full hot buffet breakfast, nightly cocktail reception and scheduled shuttle service to Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Wet n' Wild theme parks. More details can be found here.
The Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista is putting together a special Early Show promotion valid for travel now through Sept. 30 that will include a $25 gas card for stays of three nights or more. Receive a $25 gas card for stays of three nights or more for travel from May through September. Applies to new bookings only and reservations must be booked by June 15 to qualify. Reservations must be made by calling 1-800-999-7300 and ask for the Early Show promotion.
Holiday Inn Orlando North — Altamonte Springs: Spend two days and they'll pump up your wallet with a low rate and a $25 gas card. Stay two nights for a low rate of just $71.50 per night, and earn a $25 gas card upon checkout. Offer expires on Sept. 30.