They’re calling the new fee “temporary fuel assistance for drivers,” but whatever the name, starting Wednesday, you’ll pay between 35 and 55 cents extra for any Uber or Uber Eats order.
The current historic spike in petrol prices is unsurprisingly reducing workers’ wages to such an extent that the Guardian reports that they are don’t even get minimum wage, or more precisely, even less than the minimum wage they were earning before. These high prices in turn create other high prices, for people who use Uber and Uber Eats, at least, because KGO reports that Uber add fuel charges to all trips and orders from Wednesdaycharges of up to 55 cents each way.
Uber describes the new fees on its blog as a “temporary fuel assistance for drivers and couriers”, this will vary by city and distance travelled, and is only meant to be temporary. “Rides customers will pay an additional $0.45 or $0.55 on each Uber trip, and Eats customers will pay $0.35 or $0.45 on each Uber Eats order, depending on their location,” according to the report. official announcement from Uber. “The surcharge is temporary for the next 60 days, but we will continue to monitor gas prices and may make additional changes.”
The company states that “100% of this new supplement will go directly to [the driver]”, so we hope that’s true. Given the gas price situation in California, you should expect the full 55 cent surcharge in the Bay Area on all Uber rides and the full surcharge 45 cents off all Uber Eats orders.
According to KGO, the new fees “go into effect on Wednesday,” March 16.
This current gas price spike comes at a time when traditionally very unprofitable Uber has actually squeezed itself out two consecutive unprofitable quarters. Obviously, Uber doesn’t pay anything for gas, it’s a cost to the driver. But gas prices can deter drivers from driving or refusing more fares, and Uber’s current profitability is low enough that it could be disrupted by returning drivers. It may be the right move for them, although the odds of gas prices dropping in 60 days in mid-May – with Memorial Day and summer around the corner – are between zero and you-must-be-fucking-joking-me.
In other words, the extra gas charges will likely be there for a while. And don’t be surprised if other gig-economy companies also add similar surcharges. Yet we would wonder if gas really costs more to deliver and supply, when these price increases simply coincide with oil and gas companies posting their biggest profits in years.
Related: Where is the cheapest gas in the Bay Area right now? Pleasanton and Kenwood [SFist]
Image: Viktor Bystrov via Unsplash