Should Uber Pay Drivers More Because Gas Prices are High?

When we asked drivers what they thought about Uber and Lyft paying drivers for gas when gas prices are high, we got a lot of feedback! Many of you feel passionately about this topic, which is good!

The biggest takeaway? Just. Pay. Drivers. More! Many responses we got said the whole debate between “paying drivers for gas” or not was moot, since it was predicated on drivers getting more pay in general.

Below, we break out the pros and cons for Uber and Lyft reimbursing drivers for gas during times of high gas prices based on your feedback. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Finally, if you’re looking to save money at the pump, make sure to download GetUpside. With GetUpside, you can save money every time you fill up (up to 25 cents a gallon). Click here to download GetUpside and get a sign up bonus!

Should Uber and Lyft Pay Drivers More Due to High Gas Prices?

Pros to Uber and Lyft Paying Drivers More When Gas Prices are High

Below, we’ll share what you had to say for why Uber and Lyft should pay drivers more because of higher gas prices.

Doing So Would be Easy!

When we initially proposed this question, we thought about several complicated ways Uber and Lyft could estimate prices and raise them… but then you all came through with even easier ideas!

CaliDriver says this could all be done with a floating adjustment fee to the customer – a few cents at most.

Even easier? RideUpstate said Uber and Lyft could simply add a $1 nationwide surcharge to customers and balance it all out.

Overall, a $1 surcharge for fuel, added to the customers’ bills, really sounds like the simplest and easiest solution. It doesn’t punish EV drivers, it doesn’t involve complicated algorithms, and let’s be honest, customers across all platforms are already used to seeing surcharges at this point!

Paying Drivers More for Gas Will Bring More Drivers Back to the Platform

There’s still a massive rideshare driver shortage, and Uber and Lyft have poured thousands into bringing new and prior drivers back to their platforms. But what if they just raised prices to pay for gas costs?

Readers like Collin and Patricia suggested this idea, with the idea being that an announcement from Uber and Lyft like this would also serve a purpose to bring drivers back!

Raising Prices During Periods of High Fuel Costs is Just a Smart Business Decision

One Twitter user pointed out that customers are already used to seeing surcharges, and airlines do it all the time. Since we as drivers are transporting people from A to B like airplanes, why shouldn’t we also have fuel surcharges?

Disputing the Fact that Uber and Lyft are “Technology” Platforms – They Need Us Drivers!

Uber and Lyft have argued for years they are a tech company – but it’s pretty obvious they also need drivers to execute that technology.

While we disagree with the response that Uber is a “personal ATM”, it is true that without drivers, Uber and Lyft’s “tech businesses” truly cease to exist. Until they figure out a way to replace us with robot drivers, they still need drivers and vehicles!

Since drivers are finding gas prices to be prohibitively expensive and hurting their bottom lines, these ‘tech companies’ should find a way to pay us more – even if it means less “profit.”

Cons to Uber and Lyft Paying Drivers More When Gas Prices are High

Of course, many of you disagreed with the statement “Uber and Lyft should pay drivers more when gas prices are high” and had plenty of reasons to back up your thoughts. Below, we’ll share reasons why you don’t think Uber and Lyft should pay more when gas prices are high.

Standard mileage deduction

As Uber drivers, we can (and should) write off our mileage at the end of the year. The gas needed to operate our vehicles for rideshare is built into this deduction. The current rate is $0.56 per mile according to the IRS for business miles.

My husband and I just calculated the cost to operate his vehicle. Without maintenance, it costs about $0.12 to operate. With maintenance included it goes up to about $0.22 per mile to operate. This is on a Toyota Camry getting an average of 30 mpg at a cost of $3.00 per gallon of gas.

So, with the IRS rate of $0.56 per mile, and the actual cost to operate and maintain his vehicle at $0.22 per mile, we’re ahead of the ballgame there.

As one Twitter user noted, it’s up to us to determine what we need our earnings to be based on considerations like driver expenses and reimbursement rates.

Drivers Are Not Employees

In every Uber driver survey we’ve conducted, an overwhelming majority of drivers want to remain independent contractors (well over 50%). If drivers wanted to be employees, they could argue for reimbursement for fuel costs – but they’re not and most drivers don’t want to be.

As these two social media commenters noted, if earnings aren’t cutting it for drivers, in the end they’re free to move on (or use different driving strategies to earn more in less time.)

Logistical Nightmare

Do you know how often gas prices change? A lot. Like really a lot. Plus it’s different in basically every city across the U.S.

Would you expect Uber to track the cost of gas and adjust their payments to you based on that? What if you travel from one part of your state to the next while driving and the gas prices are significantly different? Should it be adjusted on a city by city, passenger by passenger basis?

This person on Twitter tries to refute the argument (below), but really just proves the point. Yes, let’s (potentially) hire more Uber and Lyft admin to break down all this info, and figure out the cost of gas in every single city and town, oh and don’t forget Costco and Sam’s Club pricing… but of course, this is a Twitter comment and everyone thinks they can ‘whip together’ an Excel spreadsheet for the million+ drivers in the US.

As mentioned in the pro argument above, if you are in favor of Uber and Lyft reimbursing drivers for fuel costs, just add a simple fuel surcharge – not a complicated spreadsheet!

Just Pay Drivers More!

Are you angry at this article yet? When we initially proposed this question on social media, we argued on the side against a gas/fuel surcharge – and many of you were angry!

But that just proves the point: just pay drivers more!

Thank you, Garrick

The rates that Uber pays their drivers are outrageously too low and laughable compared to even just a few years ago.

That being said, the cost of gas should already be roughly factored into the rates that Uber already pays their drivers.

Each market has a rate card where it breaks down how much you’re paid per mile and minute. Since these rates vary by market, it’s probably safe to say that the average gas prices of the market is taken into consideration when determining these rates.

For example, in my market of Minneapolis-St. Paul, I make $0.6375 per mile and $0.195 per minute. I also get paid a long pickup fee if it is estimated and if it does take me longer than 11 minutes to get to my passenger.

Like I said earlier, these rates aren’t even close to ideal and nowhere near many veteran drivers remember starting with on the platform. However, gas is likely a contributing factor to determining these rates.

Where is This Debate Coming From?

In the end, a lot of this comes down to pay and what drivers “are.” Are we independent contractors? If so, we could set our own prices and make up for gas costs (or, in the case of EV drivers, not!)

As reader Jeffrey shares below, if we were truly ICs, we could just avoid this whole debate by setting our own prices.

However, we’re not actually treated like true independent contractors despite what Uber calls us. At the same time, we’re not employees, so we can’t expect to get reimbursed for gas by Uber or Lyft.

Since Uber is the one determining what we get paid, they’ll never pay us more when the gas prices get higher than what’s deemed affordable.

How to Combat Rising Gas Prices

With all that being said, the cost of gas is something we all have to deal with on a regular basis. We need to make sure it stays as affordable as possible.

One way to do that is with the GetUpside app.

GetUpside is an app that will help you earn cash back on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and convenience stores.

The best part is that it really is cash back. Not meaningless points or coupons to use at specific places, but cash.

How it works is you’ll claim an offer for a nearby gas station (or grocery store or restaurant) and save up to $0.25 per gallon (more if you have a bonus attached). Click here to download GetUpside and get a signup bonus.

There are other apps out there that will help you save at the pump or get cash back rewards as well. And some of them are even stackable with each other to save you even more.

Check out These 8 Best Gas Apps Will Save You Lots of Money on Gas to learn about our favorite apps to save money on gas.

Where do you fall on the ‘should Uber and Lyft pay for our gas’ debate?

-Paula @ RSG