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Ride-sharing drivers see profits evaporate as gas prices keep climbing

Some drivers are losing money when driving customers
Gas Prices
Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 18:18:40-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Rising gas prices are driving plenty of cringeworthy moments when filling up your tank. But for people who are drivers for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, the pain at the pump cuts much deeper.

Marcello Ashley began driving for Uber about a week ago after a short hiatus. He started the job once again to make extra money to pay off debt and begin a food truck business. But the recent gas prices are making that opportunity look bleak.

"At $4.50 a gallon it makes you want to cry sometimes," Ashley said.

About three days a week, Ashley sits in a crowded parking lot with other drivers near Tampa International Airport with hopes he won't have to wait four hours before he books a ride. It costs him roughly $75 to fill up his tank. It's a task he now has to do every day.

"When you're coming to the lot and you're sitting there for like two or three hours like I did sitting there like I did when I leave, I am going to have to fill up again," Ashley said. "The money that I make, let's say I make $100 dollars right, so in filling up I only made $23. So, it's not really worth it."

He's not alone when it comes to losing money as a driver for Uber. Addy Addyle has been a driver for Uber for three years.

"It's hard for me to make it because we are losing time and we are losing money and we are losing everything," Addyle said.

He's hoping Uber and its competitor, Lyft, will help drivers as the cost of fuel continues to rise.

"In a week if you do like six, seven hundred dollars and after you take off you know your gas price and the maintenance you are almost going home empty-handed," Addyle said.

ABC Action News reached out to Uber and Lyft to ask if they are making any changes to help drivers.

In a statement, Lyft said, "We care deeply about the driver experience and we’ve taken concrete steps to help given rising gas prices. Our investments in programs like our GetUpside partnership and the Lyft Direct cashback debit card are designed to directly save drivers money at the pump. We’ll continue to explore other ways to help the driver community."

ABC Action News has yet to receive a response from Uber. But in a statement to Bloomberg, Uber said, "Our platform only works if it works for drivers, so we'll continue to monitor gas prices and listen to drivers over the coming weeks."

Bloomberg also reported a campaign aimed at getting ride-sharing apps to help drivers with fuel costs has generated "more than 5,500 signatures on the organizing platform"

While everyone, especially ride-share drivers, hopes for prices to start to come down; that's likely not happening any time soon. AAA said the high gas prices are likely to stick around for months, especially in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In Florida, gas prices rose $0.15 overnight Monday. The average for a gallon of gas in Florida right now stands at $4.15, just $0.02 less than the national average. Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties are at $4.13 per gallon, AAA reported Tuesday.

The climbing gas prices leave drivers with a lot of pain at the pump and has drivers like Ashley questioning whether it's worthwhile to continue to drive for Uber, or any other company for that matter.

"With the gas prices and surges I am thinking twice now whether I want to drive some more," Ashley said.