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Rideshare drivers’ take-home pay plummets as gas prices continue to rise

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 9:22 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gas prices continue to climb, reaching a new record high overnight.

The average gas price in Anchorage has risen to $5.07 per gallon. Nationally, the average price for fuel jumped four cents this morning — to a record $4.52 a gallon according to AAA.

Oil and gas analyst Larry Persily, says that crude oil prices go up almost daily, and that prices can increase faster than it takes for them to decrease. But according to Persily, that’s simply the cost of putting crude oil into a refinery and the market is tight.

“This is just the world we live in,” Persily said. “It’s going to cost more to buy fuel, it’s going to cost more to have UPS and FedEx packages delivered because they’re tacking on fuel surcharges. We are in an inflationary spiral. It does not look like it’s going to abate anytime soon.”

As gas prices continue to rise, many transportation businesses are getting hit hard, such as rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Anchorage resident, Mark Macjarrett, a former Uber driver, claims he stopped driving altogether because rideshare companies have not yet increased pay to accommodate the fuel increase.

“There’s no incentives from Uber to make it worth your while basically,” Macjarrett said. “I mean, I’m driving three to four hundred miles a night, so you’re talking 55, 60 bucks in gas. So it adds up quick, there’s half the pay.”

According to Macjarrett, there’s also costs involved with driving for rideshare companies. Drivers are in charge of their own wear and tear on vehicles. Uber and Lyft do not help with oil changes, tire changes, and require all drivers have full coverage car insurance.

“They are losing a lot of drivers. You used to see a lot of SUV’s like Tahoes, Suburbans driving Uber,” Macjarrett said. “You don’t see them anymore at all because you’re talking — what are they getting 12 miles per gallon, and at $5 a gallon for gas — not worth it. You’re not making your money.”

For those who rely on fuel to make a living, rising prices are hitting those workers particularly hard as fuel makes up a large part of their daily costs. Persily states that while it’s upsetting, no part of the economy is immune.

“Some years it’s rotten for commercial fisherman. Returns are bad, prices are bad, there’s some years you just think ‘why am I working, I didn’t make anything,’ and for someone who really has to depend on fuel for their livelihood this is going to be one of those years where they wonder, what did I do to deserve this,” Persily said. “And they didn’t do anything. It just happened.”

AAA says the switch to the summer blend of gas is already underway, which typically adds seven to 10 cents per gallon. Alaska’s News Source reached out multiple times to Uber and Lyft corporate offices for comment and did not receive a response in time for broadcast.

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