If you’re working for any sort of gig economy job, it’s always important to consider your hourly pay to help determine if a job is worth your time.
But, you also have to consider possible expenses. After all, if a job pays a high hourly wage but has costs that eat into your profits, the math might not work out in your favor.
Driving for Uber and Uber Eats is no exception, especially when you consider fuel costs.
So, today we’re going to break down the question: Does Uber pay for gas?
We’re also going to explain why this matters for rideshare drivers, how you can figure out if Uber is worth it for you, and some tips to help drivers save on gas.
Let’s get to it!
Want to try other high-paying driving gigs? Checkout:
- DoorDash – Make extra money by delivering food as a DoorDash courier!
- Instacart – Become an Instacart Shopper and earn $15 to $25+ per hour!
Does Uber Pay For Gas?
Like other gig apps, when you drive for Uber, you’re working as an independent contractor.
And, since you’re an independent contractor, this means you’re not entitled to things like company benefits, a pension, or even a set minimum wage.
This also means that Uber doesn’t pay for your gas because this fuel is an operating expense you incur as an independent contractor and not Uber’s responsibility.
On that similar note, Uber doesn’t pay you for vehicle depreciation.
Here’s how Uber calculates pay for drivers:
- Standard Fare: You earn money for completing every trip.
- Surge: You can earn a bonus fee for driving during very busy times when surge pricing is in effect.
- Minimum Trip Earnings: Uber also has a minimum earnings amount that varies by city that you’re guaranteed to earn for any trip.
- Service & Booking Fees: These fees help cover things like Uber’s app development and safety.
- Cancellations: You generally receive some payment if a rider cancels a request.
As you can see, mileage isn’t a part of Uber’s payment formula, so Uber doesn’t reimburse you for mileage.
Technically, you earn more for longer trips, so you’re kind of getting paid to drive, but there isn’t a clear mileage reimbursement policy.
Does Uber Pay For Tolls?
So, Uber doesn’t pay for your gas, but what about tolls?
Well, the good news is that you don’t pay for tolls when driving for Uber.
According to Uber: “When your vehicle is charged a qualifying toll during a trip, the amount is automatically added to your fare. These tolls are charged to riders and reimbursed to you from the rider, as detailed to you on the Earnings tab of your driver app.”
However, optional toll roads and express lanes aren’t covered, so avoid driving on these or you’ll have to pay the bill.
Does Uber Pay For Parking Tickets?
According to Uber, “Drivers using the Uber app are responsible for any violation of traffic laws. Per local regulations and Uber’s Community Guidelines, you’re required to settle moving violations, parking citations, or toll evasion tickets that you receive.”
So, in other words, Uber doesn’t pay for parking tickets, citations, or any scenario where you get a fine for breaking the rules.
Does Uber Eats Pay For Gas?
If you’re driving for Uber, you’re automatically eligible for drive for Uber Eats as well.
Uber Eats lets you make money by completing food deliveries in your area. In this regard, it’s similar to driving for companies like DoorDash or Grubhub.
But, Uber Eats doesn’t pay for gas either. Once again, you’re an independent contractor and are therefore responsible for handling your own operating expenses.
You can still make great money with Uber Eats like driving for Uber, but you have to factor in fuel costs since Uber doesn’t pay for them.
Extra Reading – Is Driving For DoorDash Worth It?
How Should I Handle Gas Costs & Driving For Uber?
So, Uber doesn’t pay you for your gas, but this doesn’t mean you should just eat the entire cost of refueling and call it quits.
In fact, the Uber driver app actually has a tax summary tab that reports all of the miles you drive:
- While waiting for a trip
- En-route to a rider
- On a trip
With this information, it’s sometimes possible to get various tax deductions because you can deduct business mileage on your tax return.
Uber states that “To determine whether your mileage is deductible, we recommend contacting an independent tax professional for any tax questions you may have, as Uber does not provide tax advice. TurboTax, and the IRS also offer additional tax info.”
So, in other words, Uber helps drivers monitor how many miles they drive.
But, you should still track this independently, and keep all of your gas receipts! This is super important if you claim mileages for a tax deduction but get audited down the line.
If you want to learn how to save money on mileage when filing your taxes, I suggest checking out this video from ClearValue Tax on how to deal with Uber tax deductions:
Extra Reading – Uber Eats Driver Tips & Tricks.
Why Tracking Fuel Expenses Matters
As mentioned, the whole point of working a gig economy job is to boost your monthly income.
So, don’t just look at how much money you make per hour driving for Uber or Uber Eats…keep every gas receipt, calculate how much you’re spending, and subtract it from your daily earnings.
You should also factor in the income tax you have to pay, as well as gradual vehicle depreciation.
If you want to quickly calculate your vehicle depreciation, you can use free depreciation calculators, like this one from Caredge.com:
In short, the better idea you have of your true profit after you substract all gas expenses and various costs, the better.
Tips For Saving Money On Gas When Driving For Uber
Since Uber doesn’t pay for gas, this is an inevitable expense for this side hustle.
But, there are still some ways to reduce your overall fuel consumption and spending that can help make driving for Uber more worthwhile.
1. Drive At Peak Times
One of the best ways to offset your mileage cost when driving for Uber or Uber Eats is to simply earn more.
I mean, think about it like this…would you rather:
- Earn $14 for a 6 mile trip thanks to surge pricing and driving during a busy time
- Earn $9 for a 6 mile trip because you’re driving during a slow period
Earning more per ride or Uber Eats delivery gives you more wiggle room for offsetting fuel costs, so try your best to drive during the busiest times.
For Uber, this is for the morning and evening commute. It’s also during late-night events on Friday and Saturday.
As for the best times to do Uber Eats, you’re looking at lunch, dinner, and all-day on weekends.
2. Always Earn Cash Back On Gas
Another easy way to save money on fuel is to earn cash back whenever you’re at the pump.
Using a gas rewards credit card is the most effective way to do this since most cards let you earn at least 2% back on gas.
Earning 2% back might sound inconsequential, but if you do a lot of driving for Uber or Uber Eats, this adds up.
You can also try various reward apps to save money at the pump through cash back.
For example, the GetUpside app lets you save up to $0.25 per gallon and also earn various free gift cards as rewards.
You can also use receipt scanning reward apps like Receipt Hog to earn free gift cards for your gas and grocery receipts.
Overall, a cash back credit card is the most impactful way to save on gas when you drive for Uber. But, these reward apps can also help you earn some free rewards the more you drive.
Extra Reading – Best Apps Like Fetch Rewards.
3. Try Being A Bike Courier
Alright, while this is a tip for Uber Eats drivers, I think it’s worth mentioning.
Because Uber doesn’t pay you for your gas, the best way to avoid paying for fuel and vehicle depreciation is to simply avoid driving altogether.
The great news is that in many major cities, you can work for Uber Eats as a bike courier.
My friend actually does this for Uber Eats and DoorDash in downtown Toronto, and he’s able to earn $15 to $20+ per hour as a bike courier.
And, the great news is that being a bike courier basically lets you get paid to workout since you can enjoy miles of biking while making money for every delivery you complete.
DoorDash Disclaimer: Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.
4. Qualify For Uber Pro
One of the best ways for Uber drivers to save on gas is to qualify for Uber Pro, Uber’s new reward program for drivers.
With Uber Pro, frequent, highly-rated Uber drivers unlock perks to earn more.
The main perks include:
- Earning more money by getting priority pickups for airports
- Saving money on gas with the Uber debit card
- Getting roadside assistance and up to 25% off car maintenance expenses
- Getting 100% of your tuition covered at ASU online
The Uber Visa debit card and car maintenance coverage are two awesome perks here that can help you offset the cost of paying for gas and vehicle repairs.
In particular, here’s what the Uber Visa credit card offers:
- 1% cash back on all purchases
- 3% cash back at Exxon and Mobil stations
- 10% cash back at Advance Auto Parts
- 15% discount on certain services at Jiffy Lube
- Free Instant Pay for your Uber earnings
Anyway, how do you qualify for Uber Pro?
Well, in a nutshell, you drive more with Uber to earn points.
According to Uber: “You earn points during fixed 3-month periods. At the start of a 3-month period, your status is determined by the points you earned in the previous 3-month period. At any time, you can move up statuses and unlock more rewards if you earn enough points for the next status and maintain high ratings.”
Drivers who also deliver with Uber Eats can earn points to qualify for Uber Pro.
As you gain points, you unlock Gold, Platinum, and Diamond-level perks. The better your customer service and ratings and the more you drive, the faster you can advance to a better tier.
Uber Pro is still in beta and being rolled out to various markets, so check your Uber or Uber Eats driver app to see if you can apply to the program in your area.
Unfortunately, Uber doesn’t pay for expenses like gas or parking tickets. Additionally, you’re responsible for vehicle repairs and overall depreciation.
But, this doesn’t automatically make Uber or Uber Eats bad side jobs.
The reality is that Uber offers a flexible, fast way to make extra cash each month. Some Uber and Uber Eats drivers can even earn a few extra hundred or thousands of dollars per month if they put in enough hours behind the wheel.
Ultimately, you need to factor in your gas costs and other expenses and decide if driving for Uber is worth it or not.
My advice is to set a weekly or monthly income goal and estimate how many hours you need to drive to make that amount in profit.
Uber is just one of many companies in the gig economy space, but there are plenty of other ways to make some extra cash!
Tom is a 24 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. 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!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!