Citing record-high prices for gasoline, which are ramping for the 13th consecutive day since Russia began its war on Ukraine, Uber is charging customers a new fuel fee to help offset costs for ride-hail and delivery drivers.
The temporary surcharge will be either 45 cents or 55 cents for each Uber trip and either 35 cents or 45 cents for each Uber Eats order, depending on location, the company announced Friday.
It will take effect on Wednesday. All the money will go directly to drivers, San Francisco-based Uber said, and isn’t meant to cover the entire cost of gas, but to ‘soften the burden.’
The surcharge will be in effect for at least 60 days, after which Uber said it will assess gas prices and driver sentiment.
The surcharges are based on the average trip distance and the increase in gas prices in each state, Uber said.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine has intensified, U.S. gas prices have reached record levels. The average price of gasoline in the U.S. hit a record $4.34 a gallon on Saturday (rounded up to the nearest cent), up from $4.33 on Friday as President Joe Biden banned imports of Russian oil, gas and coal in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.
Citing record-high prices for gasoline, Uber is charging customers a new fuel fee to help offset costs for ride-hail and delivery drivers
People holding signs protest against the rising gas prices at a Shell gasoline station in Santa Monica, California on Saturday
A spokesperson for Uber rival Lyft didn’t immediately respond to a question Saturday on whether it was considering a similar move.
‘We know that prices have been going up across the economy, so we’ve done our best to help drivers and couriers without placing too much additional burden on consumers,’ Liza Winship, head of driver operations for the US and Canada, said of the new surcharges in a press release.
The amount of U.S. gasoline in storage fell last week as demand starts to increase with summer approaching. The increase in gas demand and the lower trend in inventories are also contributing to rising prices at the pump.
The US imported about 245 million barrels of oil from Russia last year – about 8 percent of all US oil imports, up from 198 million barrels in 2020, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
That’s less than the country gets from Mexico or Canada, but more than it imported in 2021 from Saudi Arabia.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday doubled down on blaming Vladimir Putin for soaring U.S. inflation, after the consumer price index hit another 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February, which Biden called ‘Putin’s price hike.’
‘It is accurate that the invasion by President Putin into Ukraine has impacted global inflation,’ she said, adding it affected inflation in the U.S. ‘because of the impact it’s had on energy prices and that is a significant contributor to inflation. The inflationary numbers we saw come out today.’
Psaki also warned prices could get higher but said the situation was temporary and would ease out toward the end of the year. Administration officials have been arguing for months that inflation will ease as the year ends and the world recovers from the Covid pandemic.
Concerns are founded as across the country, authorities have made arrests for thefts from gas stations or oil heating tanks, with some going as far as drilling holes in drivers’ gas tanks to siphon off what many police departments refer to as ‘liquid gold’ and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
The caps, which run anywhere from $8.99 to $16 at various auto parts stores, can provide some security but are only able to do so much as thieves fight rising fuel prices by stealing gas.
A sticker of US President Joe Biden is placed on a gas pump at a Turkey Hill station
Thieves were caught on camera stealing what one gas station manager alleged was several thousand dollars worth of fuel from a Long Beach, California gas station
Prices remain highest in California, where the average cost is $5.73 a gallon, with at least one county rising over $6. There were reports Wednesday of gas prices nudging $8-a-gallon in Los Angeles.
Police in nearby Long Beach arrested one person and towed at least three cars in connection with people trying to take fuel from a gas station.
Station managers say they’ve seen a trend of people making off with thousands of dollars in fuel. The bandits take advantage of distracted cashier to access a master key that can turn on the fuel pump.