Soaring gas prices are forcing some Uber and Lyft drivers off the road

A driver uses the Uber app to drop off a passenger.

Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg via Getty Images

When Sergio Avedian, 55, started driving full-time for Uber and Lyft in 2016, he was earning $3,000 a week.

“Now it’s impossible to make that kind of money,” he said.

Coming out of the pandemic, demand for rides is high, but inflation and rising gas prices have made it harder for drivers to earn what they once earned.

“Gasoline prices have pretty much crippled every driver,” said contributor Chris Gerace. The carpool guya blog aimed at helping rideshare drivers make more money.

Nearly half of rideshare workers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as food delivery people for companies like Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats, are quitting or driving less due to the recent spike in gas prices , according to The Rideshare Guy’s own poll.

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“Hopefully it’s only temporary, but over time we’re going to see another segment of drivers saying ‘I can’t do this anymore,'” Gerace said.

The Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices Americans have to pay for goods and services, rose 8.5% from a year ago, hitting a new high in March. However, gasoline prices jumped 18.3% over the month, boosted by the war in Ukraine and pressure on supply.

“Gas prices alone accounted for more than half of the monthly increase in the CPI, and over the past year gas prices have risen 48%,” said Greg McBride, financial analyst Chief at Bankrate.

Although the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline fell slightly to $4.10 after the White House announced several stopgap measures, it is still significantly higher than the $2.86 seen a year ago, according to AAA data.

In California, where Avedian works, a gallon of regular gasoline costs an average of $5.75.

To compensate drivers for rising gas prices, Uber has introduced a temporary fuel surcharge last month. Consumers must now pay an additional 45 cents or 55 cents on each ride and 35 cents or 45 cents on each Uber Eats order, depending on location.

“We know prices have risen across the economy, so we’ve done our best to help drivers and couriers without placing too much of an additional burden on consumers,” Uber said in a statement.

Lyft has also added an extra 55 cents on each ride to help offset drivers’ fuel costs, while Doordash now offers a 10% rebate program on all gas purchases and Grubhub has increased distance pay. per mile.

With more drivers dropping out, demand for rides is high. This means that the prices are higher.

Sergio Avedian

contributor to The Rideshare Guy

“We continued to closely monitor gas prices and their impact on drivers,” a Lyft spokesperson said.

“We have taken several steps to help ease the pain at the pump, including the introduction of a 55 cent fuel surcharge for every ride that goes directly from passengers to drivers, and we will continue to invest in more. ways to help the driver community,” the spokesperson added.

In April, Lyft drivers were spending an average of 57 cents more on gas per hour than a year ago, according to the company.

Avedian, which is also contributor to The Rideshare Guy, said the incentives, along with a sudden shortage of drivers due to rising gas prices, helped boost his income.

“With more drivers dropping out, the demand for rides is high,” he said. “That means the tariffs are higher.”

Yet others say it doesn’t make up for the increased cost of driving.

“The problem with the fuel surcharge is that it doesn’t take distance into account,” Gerace said. “You may only have short journeys, which is great, but if you have longer journeys, that 45 or 55 cents won’t cover anything at this point.

“It helps on paper, but in practice it’s not enough.”

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Edward N. Arrington