CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – As the cost of gas continues to surge, rideshare drivers are working overtime to meet demand. Some have needed to trade their vehicles for more efficient ones, or even quit altogether.
Two drivers said platfofrms like Uber and Lyft offer drivers about 55 cents per trip to accommodate gas prices. But, that’s only a fraction of what a gallon costs, and many of those trips span miles.
When Adam Corbett first started driving for Uber months ago, a gallon of gas cost several dollars less than it does today. It seemed like the perfect deal.
“I make my own hours, and I know I’m home with the kids when I need to be home,” Corbett said.
But, it turned out too good to be true.
“It’s getting to be a struggle to get the bills paid. It’s put a lot of stress on me,” he said.
He recently quit his full-time job to drive for Uber because he was able to easily bring home $1,500 dollars each week. But, that same amount of cash doesn’t stretch like it used to just six weeks ago.
“With gas prices, putting money aside to pay taxes at the end of the year… That’s just enough to break even,” he said.
Like many other rideshare drivers, he said Uber isn’t offering much help.
“Three to four trips, 55 cents a trip. That’s not even a gallon of gas. And I’m probably burning eight, nine gallons of gas doing it,” he said.
Chris Heater drives for both Uber and Lyft. His Ford Expedition used to bring in extra cash because it could carry more riders. But now, he said he’s matching what he would take home after expenses. The stress led him to buy a Toyota Prius.
“I honestly had to scramble and look for more fuel efficient vehicle,” Heater said.
That’s one reason why drivers are hoping to see Lyft and Uber change their base rates and commission structures.
“Something like a 60-40 or 65-35 split is more fair in this current economy with inflation and fuel prices, compared to roughly 50-50 split,” Heater said.
He said he hasn’t received an update from either platform since the price of gas reached a new high. The nationwide average hit $5 for the first time last week.
“I hear a lot of riders talking about how gas prices are too much for them to drive themselves. But then that kind-of hurts when they make that comment. And I’m like, ‘you know, I’m out here spending my gas to give you a ride,'” Corbett said.
Neither Uber nor Lyft has responded to WCIA’s request for a comment.