How has the rideshare fuel surcharge actually worked out for drivers?

Rideshare and delivery drivers were among the first to feel it when gas prices started skyrocketing earlier this year. Uber and Lyft responded with a per trip fuel surcharge of $0.45 to $0.55 and said they’d test it for 60 days. Exactly how has this surcharge been working? 

Many drivers shared deep unhappiness with the companies’ response. One of the problems with the surcharge is that because it’s per trip and not per mile, its value gets smaller the longer a trip gets, while the increased cost of gas remains the same mile after mile.

With the initial 60-day surcharge period expiring soon, gas prices stuck at sky high levels, and increasing investor pressure to find profitability, now is the time to ask:

Exactly how has this surcharge been working? 

We looked at the millions of driver records shared by Driver’s Seat users to “crowdsource” an answer. In doing so, we put the power of data science to use FOR gig workers!

We found that the fuel surcharge still leaves drivers on the hook for the higher price of gas on somewhere between a third and a quarter of trips. 

For many drivers, the break even point (after which the fuel surcharge doesn’t help you) is at trip distances between 7 and 9 miles. 

Curious about your own personal break even point?

You can use the table below to find your personal break even point, or the maximum distance you can travel per trip before gas prices start to negatively impact your earnings. 

How to use the table: 

  1. Select an MPG similar to your vehicle.
  2. Select which surcharge you get: 45 cents or 55 cents per trip.
  3. Find your break even trip length. If you routinely accept trips longer than this length, the cost of high gas prices will likely eat up all of your fuel surcharge bonus – you’ll be driving in the red!

What strategies have you used to deal with high gas prices? We want to know! Email us here

Curious about our math?

Unlike Uber and Lyft, we factor in deadhead and repositioning miles when analyzing rideshare data. We use millions of pooled data records from drivers like you to calculate total work miles associated with trips of different lengths. We work backwards from there to determine what the break even points are for the different fuel surcharge rates and car MPG.

*Because national averages are lower than many states like California, your break even point may be longer.

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