Doordash has launched a gas rewards program aimed at helping delivery drivers mitigate the high cost of fuel. While it’s better than nothing, it’s more complicated and possibly less impactful than the fuel surcharges recently added by Uber and Lyft.
Beginning on March 17th, drivers for Doordash will be able to receive 10% cashback on gas purchases, though only if they’re enrolled in the company’s own DasherDirect Visa cards. On top of that, drivers who drive a certain amount of miles per week will qualify for weekly gas rewards, ranging from $5 to $15 per week. Unlocking the $5 discount requires drivers to complete at least 100 miles worth of trips in a week. Drivers who total more than 225 miles worth of trips will earn a $15 weekly bonus. Some Dashers easily soar past that—Gridwise calculated that the average courier on the platform traveled anywhere from 75 to 290 miles per day—but others have quit the platform in recent weeks due to rising gas prices. One viral TikTok video by a Dasher showed her earnings amounted to roughly $6 an hour after deducting the price of gas.
Like most delivery platforms like Instacart and UberEats, Doordash drivers are responsible for fuel costs and the maintenance and care of their vehicle. But earnings can vary greatly per week due fluctuating demand, how much customers choose to tip and gas costs. When gas prices are high, drivers often have to do a cost-benefit analysis on the fly, as TheRideShareGuy notes.
Both Uber and Lyft recently unveiled gas surcharges in order to account for high fuel prices — which unlike DoorDash opted to pass the additional expense onto customers. Uber drivers will receive anywhere from $0.45 to $0.55 a trip. A 2019 study by Uber ex-chief economist John List found that the average Uber driver makes just under 30 trips a week. This amounts to approximately an extra $13.50 per week to help with gas. While not insignificant, the extra income may not do much to offset the costs of drivers in states like California where the average has crept up to $6 a gallon.