High gas prices weigh on carpool drivers

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) – As the national gas price tops $5 a gallon, people across the country are feeling the pain at the pump as they fill up their cars, including those who drive to earn their life.

Patrick Dennis is a full-time rideshare driver for Uber and Lyft in the Richmond area and decided to get behind the wheel for several reasons, including the flexibility of his schedule.

Rideshare driver Patrick Dennis waits for a rideshare request in Henrico County.(Source; NBC12 | NBC12)

“Meeting people and being mobile, I like that,” Dennis said. “I’ve done business in America for 30 years and love the freedom of ridesharing.”

His full-time job on the road is also raising concerns about the price of his tank of gas as prices at the pump soar.

“I try not to let it go over half a tank,” Dennis said. “It’s $50 in this car. It’s a four cylinder. It’s a half tank.

Delores Jordan, a rideshare driver who also works for Uber and Lyft, is also feeling the pinch as drivers work to cover the costs of their trips.

“It’s very difficult for us right now,” Jordan said. “Because gas is so high, and we try to do every trip because every trip is money for us, but sometimes the trip doesn’t pay for the fuel.”

Rising fuel prices are weighing heavily on carpool drivers.
Rising fuel prices are weighing heavily on carpool drivers.(Source; NBC12 | NBC12)

In response to the price hike, an Uber spokesperson sent us the following statement:

“We know drivers are feeling the sting of record prices at the pump, so we are temporarily extending the fuel surcharge on car trips. We will continue to listen to driver and courier feedback and proactively communicate any changes to them in advance. »

The fuel surcharge is an additional 55 cents for each ride, which Uber says will go directly to drivers.

A spokesperson for Lyft also said they are temporarily extending their fuel surcharge for drivers, which is also the same amount that Uber offers.

An Uber spokesperson also added, “The purpose of this surcharge is to ease the burden of higher prices, not to cover the full cost of gas.”

In March, Uber and Lyft announced measures to help drivers cover fuel costs as gas prices began to climb. However, Jordan said she is considering other ways to save fuel.

“I live out of town so I park this car closer to the airport and drive a more economical car back and forth. So I don’t need to use a lot of gas because it’s a big car, and that car takes a lot of gas,” Jordan said.

“It’s very scary,” Dennis said. “I just keep trying to keep the traction going. It is the goal to always be profitable, but it takes more to achieve it.

If gas prices continue to climb, Dennis said he may also reconsider his time on the road.

“I may have to go back to a regular job where it doesn’t require me to spend money on fuel or anything else,” he said. “Maybe I should because it’s not affordable.”

An Uber spokesperson also said the company continues to see an increase in the number of drivers on its platform. The spokesperson also adds that May was their best month in terms of active drivers since March 2020.

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Julio V. Miller