This isn’t surprising when you consider that becoming an Instacart shopper lets you make money on your own schedule and earn around $15 to $25 per hour.
Plus, unlike a lot of driving apps that pay like DoorDash and Uber Eats that involve a lot of back-and-forth driving and putting serious miles on your vehicle, Instacart requires a tad less driving than other delivery gigs.
This is because with Instacart, most of your job is spent shopping for groceries, not just picking up food and driving.
However, even with less driving, you’re still spending money on gas and putting mileage on your vehicle as an Instacart shopper.
And, like any other gig job, it’s important to understand the true cost of doing business so you know how much extra money you’re really making.
So, it’s time to dive into the question: does Instacart pay you for gas?
We’re going to look over the payment policies, what it means for shoppers, and how you can save money on fuel expenses to maximize Instacart shopper profits.
Let’s get to it.
Still looking for high-paying delivery jobs? Get started with:
- DoorDash – Make extra money by delivering food as a DoorDash courier!
- Instacart – Deliver groceries as an Instacart Shopper and earn around $15 to $25+ per hour!
Does Instacart Pay Shoppers For Gas?
Instacart doesn’t reimburse shoppers for gas money or give them a credit card to pay for gas. According to Instacart, as a shopper you are an “independent contractor. Therefore, you use your own vehicle to handle deliveries and you pay for your own maintenance and fuel.”
So, in simple terms, Instacart doesn’t pay you for the gas you use while driving.
The key term here is independent contractor; since you aren’t an Instacart employee, you can’t claim things like benefits or get the company to pay for the gas you use while on the job.
Does Instacart Pay Mileage?
Alright, so if Instacart doesn’t pay you for gas, does it at least pay a per-mile rate you drive for deliveries?
Well, the answer is a little tricky here.
According to Instacart, “Instacart provides estimates for your earnings on every order as well as total earnings for the week. The amount you earn per batch of orders depends on the number of items, type of items, driving distance, and effort involved in shopping and delivering. You keep 100% of customer tips.”
As you can see, driving distance is just one factor out of many that determines how much money you make per delivery.
So, in a loose sense, Instacart technically pays you depending on how far you drive.
But, this is lumped into your total delivery earnings and it isn’t a separate or clear-cut mileage reimbursement from Instacart.
Extra Reading – Instacart Shopper Tips & Tricks.
Instacart Temporary Gas Reimbursement
Due to rising gas prices across the nation, Instacart has announced a temporary fuel assistance program to help ease the cost of gas for shoppers. With this program, Instacart customers can face a $0.40 surcharge and 100% of this money goes to Instacart Shoppers.
As a Shopper, batches clearly indicate if they pay out a fuel surcharge. And while it doesn’t sound like much, it does help lower the cost of driving somewhat.
And again, Instacart tells you how far you’re driving before you accept a batch, so you can try and get more batches that require driving shorter distances if you’re concerned about gas costs.
Do You Get Paid Hourly For Instacart?
Instacart doesn’t pay shoppers hourly. You get paid for every delivery you complete, but how long that delivery takes depends on the complexity of the order, delivery distance, and how speedily you shop.
As for when Instacart pays shoppers, you get paid weekly for the deliveries you completed between the previous Monday through Sunday.
It’s still a great way to get paid to shop, but don’t expect hourly payment or anything that resembles a job.
Also keep in mind you can use Instant Cash Out to get your money the same day instead of waiting for a $0.50 fee.
Tips For Instacart Shoppers To Save On Gas
Since Instacart doesn’t pay for mileage, it’s critical to save as much money as you can on gas to keep more of your earnings.
As mentioned, driving isn’t as big of a deal with Instacart as most delivery jobs since most of your time is spent shopping.
But, even so, every little bit counts when you’re hustling to boost your monthly income.
1. Track Your Mileage For Potential Tax Deductions
When you work for Instacart or any other delivery gig, it’s absolutely critical to track your Instacart mileage.
This is because, when filing your taxes, you can sometimes claim gig economy miles as a business expense to help save money.
Instacart even states this itself on it’s shopper sign up page, explaining that “as an independent contractor, you may be able to write off some of these expenses as business-related expenses when filing your taxes. Please consult a tax advisor if you have any questions.”
In other words, you can potentially deduct some of the miles you drive for Instacart as a business expense.
Currently, the IRS mileage rate for business is $0.585 per mile.
And, if you want to track the miles you drive for business or various side gigs easily, you can use Hurdlr, a mileage tracking app.
I always recommend apps like Hurdlr for anyone who drives for work since it automatically tracks mileage to make tax time easier.
Plus, you can also enter your gig economy income to monitor how much you make.
Check out our Hurdlr review for all the details!
2. Always Keep Gas Receipts
Keeping gas receipts is useful for tracking your fuel expenses and potentially getting more tax deductions.
But you can also use your gas receipts to earn free money with certain receipt scanning apps.
Gas receipts are eligible for earning points, and you can even upload your Instacart grocery receipts as well to earn rewards faster.
Granted, these apps won’t let you earn hundreds of dollars, but you might as well try them if you’re collecting lots of receipts from your Instacart shopping trips.
If you don’t like Receipt Hog or Receipt Pal, you can also use CoinOut to earn money for your receipts.
Extra Reading – How To Get $20 In Free Amazon Gift Cards.
3. Use Gas Cash-Back Reward Apps
Reward apps are useful for earning cash-back rewards of everyday purchases.
So, as an Instacart shopper, earning cash back on your gas bills is a pretty straightforward way to keep more money in your pocket after each shift.
One of the best cash-back reward apps for saving money on gas is GetUpside.
GetUpside lets you save up to $0.25 per gallon, and you can redeem cash back for various free gift cards and PayPal cash.
And right now, Instacart also has a partnership with GetUpside that pays you $0.35 per gallon for your first two fill-ups. And if you use some GetUpside promo codes, you can possibly save even more!
If you drive a lot for Instacart or in general, this is a must-have app in my opinion.
I also suggest looking into cash-back gas rewards credit cards if you’re a serious gig economy worker since you can maximize how much you’re saving on fuel, ultimately reducing your operating costs.
4. Work At The Best Times
Gas costs start to matter more if your hourly earnings are low and you’re not getting high-paying, nearby deliveries and have to wait around for ages or drive to far away stores.
So, one simple way to save money on gas a shopper is to shop at the best Instacart times.
Delivering during peak Instacart hours increases how many order requests you get.
You also have a better chance at earning decent tips in my opinion and scoring high-paying orders in general.
The two general best windows for Instacart shoppers are:
- Weekdays: From approximately 4pm to 9pm
- Weekends: Almost any time on weekends work as long as you aren’t starting too early
This rule isn’t set in stone, but if you find you’re driving around aimlessly waiting for good order requests to come in or have to drive out of town to find more demand, consider trying a new delivery window.
Extra Reading – Is Instacart Worth Working For?
One of the first questions a lot of people who think about signing up for Instacart ask is: does Instacart reimburse gas?
And, while the answer is no, I also want to stress that fuel costs really aren’t the main concern with gig economy work.
The fact is that the two most important things you need to consider is your hourly wage (after taxes) and vehicle depreciation.
I think Instacart is an awesome side hustle with a high earning potential. But, you need to monitor how much you spend on fuel and the miles you’re puttin on your vehicle.
Thankfully, you drive a bit less with Instacart than other gig jobs, but still, keep track of all of your income and expenses so you can figure out if this hustle is worth your time.
Finally, know that you have options: you can always try several gig apps to find ones that don’t involve driving or to test out which driving ones pay the most in your area.
Anyway, I hope our guide helps clarify Instacart’s gas payment policies.
If you’re ready to start making extra money every month, I definitely suggest giving Instacart a try!
Catch you guys in the next one.
Looking for other unique side hustle ideas? Checkout:
- The Best Websites Like TaskRabbit For Finding Gig Work.
- Handy Pro Review – Make Money As A Handyman!
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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