The cost of everything is going up, from food to cars, and gasoline is no exception. If you’ve noticed your gas costs rising with no commensurate raise in earnings, it may be time to employ some new strategies! Here, delivery driver and new RSG contributor Xylon Zara shares ways that delivery drivers can handle rising gas prices.

    Quick summary:

    Fetch App
    • While Uber Eats and a few other delivery companies have announced fuel surcharges for couriers, there are additional ways to save money while driving
    • In the battle of rideshare vs delivery, it may benefit you to drive for delivery instead of rideshare!
    • Planning ahead of time will help you drive smarter

    Shop and Delivery Orders

    With gas prices reaching new highs, grocery orders are a great way to minimize driving on the road. These orders typically have much shorter distances traveled for pickup and drop-off compared to traditional delivery orders, such as picking up from restaurants and fast-food places.

    Why are shop and deliver orders the best way to save money on gas as a delivery driver? Convenience and availability! Grocery stores are everywhere in most cities, and you’re likely to be pretty proficient at shopping at your local grocery store, right? 

    For example, the main area that I dash in is Fremont, which has multiple Safeway, Walgreens, and CVS stores in multiple areas in the city. On top of this, DoorDash provides a higher base pay for grocery orders to account for the labor being done by shopping for the orders and spending time inside the grocery store. 

    Yes, these orders may require you to put in more effort because you must find all of the items on the shopping list, and while that can be time-consuming, you’re saving much more on gas and wear and tear on your car. 

    The only problem with this strategy is that there are fewer grocery orders than regular food orders, which is understandable since more people are ordering food delivery than grocery delivery. 

    In addition, other grocery apps focus specifically on grocery orders, such as Instacart and “Weee!”. If you want to increase the likelihood of receiving grocery orders, make sure that you are in the grocery store parking lot (or nearby) since DoorDash assigns delivery orders to the closest available dasher. 

    Delivery from a restaurant order. 

    Delivery from a grocery order. 

    Rideshare vs Delivery

    Don’t get me wrong, rideshare driving can be very lucrative! For example, Uber driver pay can be $30+/hour depending on where you drive, but typically is around $15-20/hour. I have nearly 1000 rides completed on Uber and Lyft platforms, but hear me out: if you want to put fewer miles on your car and spend less on gas, delivery orders are the way to go.

    Delivery orders range from 0.5 to 8 miles in most instances, whereas rideshare orders can range anywhere from 5 to 50 miles. Grocery delivery orders require even less driving, with most orders in between the range of 0.5 to 5 miles. 

    The good thing about working for DoorDash is that you can cherry-pick your orders. You can focus on accepting orders that don’t require you to drive long distances. I make sure that I’m close to a grocery store so that I have an increased chance of receiving a grocery order rather than a standard delivery order.

    Lyft order that is 37 minutes away.

    Grocery order that is 2.4 miles in total distance, with pick up and drop off

    Cash Back Cards

    Having credit or debit cards that give cash back for gas purchases is a great way to save money, and it is important now more than ever with gas prices on the rise. 

    DoorDash also offers a debit card called “Dasher Direct”, which gives you 2 percent cash back on gas purchases. Many credit cards offer 3, 4, and even 5 percent cash back on gas purchases.

    I have been using a credit card from Bank of America for over ten years now and it gives me 3 percent cash back on gas purchases. Costco offers a credit card that gives you 4 percent cash back on gas purchases and Citibank offers a credit card that gives you 5 percent cash back on gas purchases. You can research a wide variety of credit cards from many banks and organizations to see which best fits your spending needs.

    DoorDash debit card gives 2 percent cash back for gas.

    Citibank credit card gives 5 percent cash back for gas. 

    As a full-time Dasher, I spend more than $500 a month on gas alone. That’s $25 cash back if you spend $500 on gas, which adds up over time. You would get $300 cash back if you spent $500 on gas every month for twelve months! 

    Looking for gas apps to help you save money? Check out these best gas apps!

    Strategizing Your Route

    There is usually more than one way to get to your destination. Your miles per gallon depends on how you drive your vehicle and your route. 

    Before I leave for my destination, I always check my GPS to see if there are shorter routes than the one it provides. I try to take routes that have right turns because they often provide better gas mileage for your vehicle since you’re not wasting gas idling at the stoplight, especially at major intersections that take even longer for the light to turn green. 

    Try different navigation maps to see which one provides the best route for your trips. Apps like “Waze” contain helpful information in providing the best possible route for your trip. They show which routes have traffic, and if there is a car accident or construction going on, they will suggest different routes so you don’t waste time getting stuck on those routes.

    GPS shows two different routes. Sometimes the app will give you the longer route. You have to double-check and make sure you have the best route configured on your GPS app.

    Which app is better for drivers? Check out our video breakdown on Google Maps vs Waze here: Google Maps vs Waze: Which One Is Better For Lyft & Uber Drivers?


    You can also save gas by parking strategically when picking up orders or dropping them off. Many restaurants are located in plazas that consist of heavy traffic by pedestrians and motor vehicles. If you want to avoid traffic jams and prolonged idling in your car waiting for pedestrians to cross the street just to get to your restaurant, you can park further away in a less congested area.

    I like to park my vehicle near the exit of the plaza so that I can just leave without dealing with any traffic. Sometimes you’ll have to walk further, but it adds up and you save a little gas by not dealing with the traffic in a plaza. 

    Also, apartment complexes can be tricky, and sometimes parking can be difficult. I usually park outside or near the exit of the apartment complex, so I don’t have to deal with all the speedbumps and the possibility of not finding any parking. 

    This saves me gas and time by not having to deal with those potential factors. I can locate the apartment on foot and not have to worry about finding a parking spot or trying to get into a complex that has a gate.

    How Has Surcharge Pay Affected Delivery Drivers?

    On the heels of Uber and Lyft announcing fuel surcharges, DoorDash announced a “Gas Rewards Program” giving delivery drivers a prepaid business Visa debit card, which offers 10% cashback on gas.

    However, all of this totaled and calculated doesn’t fully cover the costs of gas before the rapid increase in gas prices. Overall, since you are driving less with delivery, it definitely helps alleviate the gas cost.

    What tips do you have for delivery drivers to save money on gas?

    -Xylon Zara

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    Get started as a gig worker today! Learn more:
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    Xylon has been driving for DoorDash for about 6 years. He has about 3000 deliveries completed. Xylon has a bachelor’s degree in communications studies and has worked as a Teppanyaki Chef for ten years. In his free time, he loves to exercise and play video games. He is also a volunteer crisis counselor for the National Suicide Hotline for 4 years and running. Xylon is married to a wonderful wife, and they love to spend their time traveling and experiencing new things.

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.