How I Average $45-50/Hour with High Gas Prices

High gas prices coupled with decreased driver availability and higher passenger demand have conspired to make senior RSG contributor Sergio Avedian a pretty happy guy – Uber and Lyft are currently showing him the money! How are incentives and fuel surcharges helping Sergio’s bottom line – and what can you learn from Sergio? He’ll break it all down below. 

As Chairman of the Show Me the Money Club, I stay true to my cause: I only drive when Uber and Lyft ‘Show Me The Money.’

I mostly am a weekend warrior for a few hours, but this past weekend I exceeded my personal driving limit of about 20 rides. In fact, I pushed myself hard. I had to get the staggered Quest of 30 for $80, and 10 more for another $35 as well as I had to line up all the incentives and make sure they overlapped.

At RSG, we ran a survey last month regarding high gasoline prices, and it seems like there is a driver shortage again. So being an opportunist, I went to get the money with a clear plan in mind. SMTMC forever!

Right after this survey was published, Uber and Lyft announced fuel surcharges to be paid directly to Los Angeles drivers. As I mentioned on Inside the Issues with Alex Cohen, this is a reactionary move and definitely not enough. Is it better than nothing? YES!

Below, I’ll show how I can earn $45-50 an hour, even with high gas prices, by combining promotions and fuel surcharges. Let’s take a look at my week/weekend results.

Do Uber and Lyft Fuel Surcharges Help Drivers?

The first item to discuss is gasoline. I have a car that averages 30 miles a gallon. It’s not the most economical, but it’s decent for a 4 door midsize SUV. Passengers love the comfortable ride and roominess of it, which also qualifies me for Comfort trips.

Looking for a new rideshare vehicle? Take a look at our top recommended cars for rideshare drivers here: The Best Cars for Rideshare in 2022

During my week and weekend of driving, I bought gas four times, $30 for each purchase, totaling $120. When I got home on Sunday afternoon, I had enough gas left to drive another 100 miles, so Sunday was a minimal mileage, maximum earning day.

The fuel surcharge paid for one of my gasoline purchases, and like I said, it is better than nothing.

I completed 50 trips on Uber and 14 on Lyft during all shifts. The fuel surcharge I receive in Los Angeles is 55 cents.

64×55 cents fuel surcharge = $35.20

$120-$35.20=$84.80 total gas expenditure

Is There Money to be Made in Rideshare Still?

Let me start by saying that I had not done 40-50 rides on a week/weekend for a long time, or drove those many hours, but I think it was worth it.

I used Lyft Streak bonuses and scheduled rides to get me to the core where Uber’s promos are active. As I previously mentioned, I hate dead miles. I utilized my Destination Filter (DF), and the Lyft Scheduled Ride Strategy and had the specific scheduled trip be the first leg of a Streak bonus to get me to the city center.

Once I got there, I switched to Uber and started cashing in on the incentives and Surge rides.

Total online time 6 hours ($38 an hour), total Active time 4.5 hours ($46 an hour). Thank you, Lyft, for getting me to the Hot Zone.

I definitely tried to take advantage of all the Incentives Uber was offering for the week/weekend. Once Lyft put me in the Hot Zone, I utilized all the tools in my toolbox. Using my destination filters was definitely one; it kept me in the bonus area since they only lasted a couple of hours a day.

I targeted short rides and did as many of them as quickly as possible to finish the Quest. This strategy is what worked for this weekend, but as a veteran driver, I am like a chameleon. Whatever Uber throws at me, I have learned to adapt.

Look at these trips from this week. Do you think they are profitable? You bet your bottom dollar they are!

It is fun driving when your plan is working out! The following are six rides from Sunday when Uber really showed me the money.

I knocked out nine rides in less than 3 hours, finished the staggered Quest, and went home. Thanks, Uber!

My Results

Out of the total 50 rides I gave on Uber, 49 included Surge, Boost+, and they counted towards my Quest. $60 an hour on Saturday/Sunday helped my weekly results immensely.

Weekly totals were good, and I could have done better if there were juicy Consecutive Ride Bonuses like last year or a better Quest.

Even I am at the mercy of the algorithms, and when they turn on you, watch out! They’ll try to send you far away repeatedly, and you keep refusing request after request.

The punishment is severe, such as losing the trip destination feature in CA. (You must accept the last 5 out of 10 rides to keep that privilege.)

$43.50 per Online hour

$48.80 per Active hour

$18.30 average per ride (mostly short/medium trips)

Total driven miles door to door 430

Uber+Lyft $1125/430=$2.61 per mile (excellent)

Takeaways for Drivers

I am tired, but I had fun. The money is out there if you don’t play Uber’s game.

Have a clear strategy in mind, and go get the money. Join the proud members of SMTMC; it is free!

I actually am hoping that gas prices stay high or go even higher to keep all the ants at home. Oversaturation was a big problem during the first two months of 2022.

The pandemic created a massive driver shortage – are we looking at another episode where passengers will get tired of waiting? Is this another headwind for Uber and Lyft? Time will tell!

Yes, demand is back to the pre-pandemic levels, but driver supply took another hit. Both companies may have to keep the incentives flowing to get my car out of the garage.

SMTMC forever!

Drivers, how are incentives looking in your market?

-Sergio @ RSG