Ride-hailing and delivery companies have added new charges to their bills to alleviate the pain its workers are feeling from higher gas prices, but DoorDash Inc. is trying a different approach.
announced last week that all its U.S. drivers can get 10% cash back on gas through the DasherDirect debit card, and those who drive the most can earn bonuses depending on miles driven.
“Our weekly gas bonus for those who dash most and 10% cash back with DasherDirect at any station could lead to savings anywhere between $1.65 and $2 per gallon,” a company spokesman said. “We’ll continue to monitor the evolving situation and explore additional resources in the coming weeks and months.”
The moves by DoorDash, which include weekly bonuses for those who do deliveries totaling 100 miles or more, follow that of other gig companies that have recently announced how they’re dealing with an increase in gas prices. Uber Technologies Inc.
is imposing a temporary surcharge on customers that it will give directly to drivers and delivery workers: 45 cents or 55 cents per ride, or 35 cents and 45 cents per Uber Eats delivery, depending on location, according to a spokeswoman.
A Lyft Inc.
spokesman said that the ride-hailing company will also be imposing a surcharge, 55 cents a ride, all of which he said would be passed on to drivers. A spokesman for Grubhub, which is owned by Just Eat Takeway.com NV
told MarketWatch that the delivery-app company is increasing driver pay; he would not say by how much, but said it would not affect customer delivery fees.
Instacart said late last week that it will add a 40-cent surcharge to each customer order and pass that along to its shoppers/delivery workers. An Instacart spokeswoman also pointed to the grocery-delivery app’s partnership with GetUpside, which offers cash back on gas purchases and more.
Gas prices have been reaching record highs as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has compounded the increase in fuel prices, which cuts into any proceeds gig workers who drive for a living can realize. The national average gas price a gallon hit $4.31 for regular last week, 2 cents lower than the record high reached the week before, according to AAA,
Kristina Ashford, who delivers for DoorDash in Vancouver, Wash., said higher gas prices have cut “any profit I may make in half.”
She said DoorDash’s announcement “sounds good in theory,” but pointed out that it doesn’t do any good for those who haven’t signed up for a DasherDirect card, which diverts earnings from the delivery workers’ main bank accounts.
Ben Valdez, an Uber driver in the Los Angeles area, called the Uber surcharge “absolutely a start. However, I don’t think it’s enough to offset the cost.”
He said the cost of filling up his SUV — he gives Uber XL rides — has risen significantly. “I spend roughly one-third of what I earn on gas.”
An additional possibility Lyft touted is 4% to 5% cash back on gas purchases on a Lyft Direct debit card, for which its drivers would have to apply.
Besides Instacart, some of the other gig companies are also pointing to their partnerships with GetUpside, a program that allows members to earn cash-back rewards, as one of the ways their workers can save on gas costs. But Valdez said the app recently sent an email indicating there are fewer rewards.
“The way it works is basically like a department store saying the gas is on sale, but they mark up the price and give you a discount,” he said.
A spokeswoman for GetUpside on Monday denied that the company marks up the price of gas in its app, and said the offers in the app are funded by its merchant partners.
“Last week, gas margins were compressed so there were temporarily lower offers in the app,” she said. “The good news for gig-economy drivers is that margins have now stabilized which means more profit for our merchants that they can share with consumers.”