Uber and Lyft drivers have a lot of freedom as independent contractors, but we’re also responsible for our own expenses, and, typically, gas is going to be one of your biggest expenses as a driver. What should Rideshare drivers do about high gas prices?
Take a look at my video about dealing with gas expenses, and read the video transcript below to see all the points I make.
Maybe you live in a city or state where gas is going up, or you’re constantly aware that you’re paying so much for gas. What should you do?
I’ve been driving for Uber and Lyft for a few years now, so I’ve seen a lot of shifts in gas prices, some up, some down, but I’ve never seen gas prices go up and then Uber or Lyft raise rates to account for it.
Uber won’t raise their rates when gas prices go up
If you’re hoping that Uber is going to raise rates because of high gas prices, the answer is most likely no. I don’t think it’s going to happen. We haven’t seen that in the past, and I wouldn’t expect it going forward.
Our Top Tips for Drivers:
Ways to deal with high fuel expenses
This is a situation that you’re going to have to deal with on your own. Fortunately, there are a few solutions, so the first thing that you want to consider is what type of vehicle are you driving.
Now, there’s a reason why the most popular car for drivers in our survey was the 2012 Toyota Prius. Priuses get really good gas mileage, 50 – 60 miles per gallon. That makes a big difference. If you’re putting a thousand miles a week on your car, getting 50 miles per gallon, then, you can go out and get 20 gallons of gas per week. That’s really maybe a one, one-and-a-half fill-ups, and that’ll be your total expenses for the week in gas, and you’re going to save a ton of money there.
Hybrid car or gas car?
You also want to consider though the cost, the increased cost of buying a hybrid versus a regular four-door car. A lot of the newer four-door sedans get surprisingly good gas mileage, and it might significantly outweigh what you would get with a 2012 or 2011, maybe older model Prius. So I think you definitely want to consider that trade-off. Are you getting good value out of a hybrid vs a similar priced gas car?
I would probably say that, if gas prices go shoot way up, that’s when a hybrid becomes valuable. Right now, it seems like gas prices are pretty low, so at this point, it makes more sense to go and weigh the choices and shift or tend to go more towards that four-door economical car.
Now, if you want to learn more about these vehicles, we have an Uber Vehicle Marketplace on our site. You can go and see some of the various rental and leasing options and actually get some more information on the various vehicles that are best for Uber. That’s the vehicle component, but the actual purchasing of gas is the second thing you can control.
Is the Uber fuel card worth it?
Uber does have a fuel card that they offer drivers. It could be worth it to get it and sort of see if it’s worth it for you. It’s a little bit limited in areas and stations where it works, but it could end up potentially saving you money.
One of our contributors, Curtis, actually went out, tested it, reviewed it, and he didn’t find that it was saving him a ton of money, but it’s sort of situational. It really depends on when and where you’re driving really and if what gas stations are already the cheapest because, sometimes, it’ll only save you money at the more expensive gas stations.
Use Gasbuddy to find the closest, cheapest gas
I don’t know that the Uber fuel card is the best solution, but I know that GasBuddy is one of the best apps for finding cheap gas. It will tell you all the prices nearby and you can weigh the cash versus credit price.
One little pro tip for Costco is if you go early mornings on the weekdays, there’s almost nobody there. As an Uber and Lyft driver, hopefully you have that flexible schedule and you can get out there at the time when it’s a lot less busy.
There are also major grocery stores that have rewards programs like a Safeway or Ralphs, Kroger. If you’re a frequent shopper those grocery stores offer deals like: If you spend $100, you might save 10 cents per gallon on your next gallon. You can stack a couple of those together, and you can save a pretty significant amount of money. I’ve even seen couples go and, the husband will fill up his car on the 30, 40-cent gallon discount, and the wife will do it.
There’s lots of credit cards that will actually get you rewards or, potentially, get you 1, 2, 3% cashback on gas purchases. We have a good list of personal and business credit cards on the Rideshare Guy Blog. You can go and check that out if you want to learn more.
You sort of get the picture there, and you kind of leverage that membership, and it could even be a 100% fully business deductible expense if you sort of use it primarily for business, so, definitely, keep all that stuff in mind.
GetUpside – Get cash back on each gallon
Another way to save on gas is an app called GetUpside. It offers cash back on each gallon you purchase at local gas stations. To try it out, get a GetUpside promo code at The Rideshare Guy.
When prices go up, be more selective in the rides you give
The last thing that I want to briefly touch on, if gas prices do go up, the other thing is just to drive smart. Use your destination filters, and consider refusing rides with lots of dead-head miles.
Let’s say you have a long ride, one to hours away, but if you know that you’re going to have to drive have two hours empty, there’s a very low chance of you being able to get a ride back even if you turn on the destination filter. Maybe someone wants to go way out into the middle of nowhere, and you almost know that there’s going to be no rides. if gas prices are super high and you’re not in the most fuel-efficient vehicle, that might be a ride that you want to turn down because you can make more by doing short to medium trips and sort of continually getting paid while someone’s in your car.
We all like to focus on the income, but, sometimes, thinking about those expenses and especially the cost of gas, and the cost of that wear and tear also on your vehicle is super important.
I hope you guys enjoyed this video. If you do have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Leave a comment below. Stay safe, and I look forward to hearing from you.
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