Lyft, Uber add surcharge due to high gas prices

Lyft and Uber are adding temporary fuel surcharges to fares for ride-hail and deliveries as fuel prices around the country rise.

The rising prices are due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in a mountain of economic sanctions from the west against Russia, including the U.S.’s ban last week of Russian oil imports and the U.K.’s promise to ease its dependency on Russian fuel by the end of the year.

Russia is one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, mainly supplying Europe and Asia, which have not formally banned Russian oil supplies yet. However, the sanctions have made oil importers nervous about touching anything Russian, so there’s been a de facto ban since the invasion started, leading to a decreased global supply of natural gas and oil.

In the U.S., the price of a barrel of oil exceed $80 dollars in the last few weeks, with the average driver paying about $4.325 per gallon as of Monday, according to data from the American Automobile Association. A year ago, the average was $2.859. In states like California, which has the highest taxes in the country, drivers are seeing an average price of $5.744.

Uber said on Friday that riders would now be charged a fee of $0.45 to $0.55 per trip, and Uber Eats deliveries will include a $0.35 to $0.45 surcharge. The fees, which are happening in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia, will last for at least two months and may be adjusted based on driver, courier and consumer feedback, the company said.

In the U.S., the surcharges apply nationwide except for New York City, where on March 1, drivers received a 5.3% increase based on the city’s mandated minimum earnings standard, which Uber says accounts for the increase in operating costs. In addition, the vast majority of delivery workers in NYC use bicycles, not cars, said Uber. It’s not clear which other markets will be affected by the surcharges, but Uber told TechCrunch it’s considering a number of different countries.

On Monday, Lyft joined Uber in adding surcharges to rides, reports The Verge. Like Uber, Lyft says it will give the entirety of its surcharge to drivers, which is meant to soften the burden of higher prices, not cover all of the cost of gas, according to Uber.

Lyft said on Wednesday its surcharge of $0.55 would affect riders in the United States everywhere but New York City and Nevada. The fuel surcharge will kick in next week and will last for 60 days, the company said.

Uber’s surcharge will apply for electric vehicle rides, as well. Lyft has not confirmed to TechCrunch whether it will have the same policy.

“We’ve been closely monitoring rising gas prices and their impact on our driver community,” Lyft said in a statement. “Driver earnings overall remain elevated compared to last year, but given the rapid rise in gas prices we’ll be asking riders to pay a temporary fuel surcharge, all of which will go to drivers. We’ll share more details shortly.”

Food-delivery company DoorDash said on Tuesday its U.S. delivery partners are eligible for a 10% cashback on gas purchases starting March 17.

This article has been updated to reflect the cost of Lyft’s surcharge and the actions of DoorDash.