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'It’s crushing me:' Tampa Bay Uber drivers feel sting of record high gas prices

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- Uber drivers are feeling the sting of soaring gas prices after the price per gallon jumped six cents overnight.

AAA said drivers in Florida are paying $4.53 per gallon at the pump. That’s the highest price ever recorded.

“The rides are just lower and lower every time you turn the app on,” said Kevin Taber, a Tampa Bay area Uber driver.

Taber said he’s seeing less profits than ever before and feels robbed by Uber.

“I never used to see rides that paid under $4 a minimum ride and now you’re still seeing rides that are paying like $3.98,” he said.

Some of the rides are paying less than a gallon of gas. Taber said this is a small cut compared to when he first started driving for Uber six years ago and made 80% of the ride fare.

“It’s completely murdering me,” said Taber. “It’s crushing me. In my situation, when you’re out working 10-13 hours a day, I don’t have time to wait 25 minutes at Sam’s Club to save 15 cents.”

Uber is temporarily charging riders a fuel surcharge of 55 cents in the Tampa Bay area. The ride share app said that money is going directly to the drivers.

Uber told News Channel 8 drivers in Tampa are not paid on a commission basis. It’s calculated based on what goes into what drivers earn on a trip: base fares, estimated trip length and duration and surge pricing.

“I don’t really see where that surcharge is going,” he said.

Taber said he isn’t feeling any relief. He spends up to $200 a week in fuel. With the six cent jump in gas overnight, Taber said the extra fee does not cover the rise in gas prices.

Uber does however show how much drivers will earn on a trip before accepting it.

“As long as drivers continue, people don’t understand that we have a way to changes what is that way, but you have to get enough people to just say ‘no,’” he said.

News Channel 8 reached out to Uber about this and the ride share app sent this statement: “We are temporarily extending the gas surcharge. We’ll continue to listen to driver and courier feedback and proactively communicate any changes to them in advance.”

Uber also said it continues to see an increase in drivers on its platform, with April being the best month ever in terms of active drivers since March 2020.

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