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High fuel costs take bite out of delivery food drivers' bottom line

Delivery Dudes driver voices concern as fuel prices hit record highs
Posted at 4:53 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 18:28:46-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ridesharing and delivery service drivers, along with contractors, are taking a hit at the gas pump with the surge in fuel prices.

RELATED: Check gas prices in your area

But are these jobs worth it with gas prices hitting record highs?

When the pandemic started two years ago, Austin Williams switched from being a bartender to driving for Delivery Dudes.

"It was just going to be a side hustle until places started opening back up again, maybe I'd get back into the restaurant industry, but it became home," Williams said.

Austin Williams, Delivery Dudes driver
Austin Williams explains how the high gas prices are impacting his job.

But with flexible hours and great tips, the food delivery service became his full-time gig. But there's only one obstacle now — high gas prices.

"We rely on our vehicles on a day-to-day basis to drive around," Williams said.

Filling up a 13-gallon tank at $4.29 a gallon, he would have to spend around $55 to fill up. That's half of what he makes in a four- to five-hour shift.

"I probably fill up two times a week," Williams said.

And he's not alone. Contractors are also feeling the pinch along with small business owners.

Donald Burgess, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches
Donald Burgess explains how the high gas prices will impact consumers in multiple ways.

Donald Burgess, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, said it won't be long before consumers, who are already paying high prices at the gas pump, will face with more increases.

"What's good about our retailers is that they will try to absorb increased prices for as long as possible," Burgess said. "There will come a point where they cannot absorb any longer and what’s going to happen is, it's going to be passed onto the end-user, which is the consumer like you and myself."

Ridesharing service companies Uber and Lyft have launched fuel cashback programs to ease the cost of doing business.

Williams said Delivery Dudes is also making adjustments.

"The slower hours that we have, they bumped up the pay during those hours," Williams said.

Burgess said fasten your seat belt because it will be a long ride before we see a drop in gas prices again.

"It's going to get worse way before it gets better," Burgess said.

Williams said one thing he's grateful for is the generous customers who have increased tips to help drivers like himself.

"Without the drivers, we're not the Delivery Dudes," Williams said.

The Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches said businesses will start to get creative to deal with the rising costs of fuel like reducing the geographical radius for services offered.