- Uber and Lyft drivers are taking hits to their earning potential amid record gas prices.
- Gas prices have increased amid inflation and Russia invading Ukraine.
- One expert said Uber and Lyft are likely to raise prices for consumers to offset the costs for drivers.
After Uber driver Marion Arriola filled up the tank of his 2015 Nissan Rogue for about $68 and finished his day of driving around Chicago on Tuesday, he logged onto LinkedIn.
“[This] just didn’t seem like a very sustainable way to keep going with the way gas prices are,” Arriola told Insider.
A chef by training who left the industry after the pandemic, Arriola decided to apply for food-related jobs again to supplement his driving gig because of the rise in gas prices. The average price per gallon hit a record high of $4.173 on Tuesday.
Last month, Arriola spent about $55 at the pump each day. He estimates he’ll spend about $300 extra this month on gas. “That’s a good chunk of my rent,” Arriola said.
Arriola is one of many drivers for Uber and Lyft who have expressed frustration about higher gas prices, some of them doing so online. Three rideshare drivers told Insider higher gas prices were affecting them at least to some extent – plus exacerbating existing issues, like safety concerns.
One rideshare YouTuber, Torsten Kunert, known as Rideshare Professor, is promoting a driver strike on March 17 to protest safety and pay issues tied to higher gas prices. There’s a petition on Coworker.org asking Uber and Lyft to take smaller commissions and raise prices to ease the pain of increasing gas prices.
But worries that drivers will leave the platform en masse are likely overblown — unless Uber and Lyft decline to raise prices to offset the gas cost increase, said Daniel Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities.
He said he expected the platforms to raise prices for consumers in the next five to seven days. “There is a better chance of me playing in The Masters than Uber not passing price increases onto the consumer,” he said.
In a statement to Insider, Lyft pointed to its Lyft Direct debit card, where drivers can get up to 2% cash back on gas at specific locations. Both Lyft and Uber have a partnership with GetUpside, where drivers can use the GetUpside app to get cash back on gas at participating locations. (Lyft declined to say whether they would raise prices; Uber didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
“Programs like our GetUpside partnership and the Lyft Direct cash back debit card are designed to directly save drivers money at the pump, and we’ll continue to invest in additional ways to help the driver community,” Lyft said in a statement.
Arriola said he’s heard of the programs but doesn’t think it offsets the increase in gas prices enough to be worth it.
Syracuse, New York-based Uber driver Levi Spires bought a Toyota Prius Prime hybrid in January, which has insulated him somewhat from gas price increases, he said. He’s more concerned about safety for divers and what he said is stagnant payouts from the company.
Still, Spires said he likes driving for Uber and isn’t considering leaving the platform, and even if he was, he’s not sure where he – or other drivers – would go.
“When you’re a low-income worker it’s not like you have all these options to be like, ‘Screw it, I’m going to do something else,'” he said.
Lyft said based on its “internal analysis” drivers are shelling out more for gas but “even when you account for increased fuel costs, drivers nationally have still been earning more per hour on average than they were a year ago.”