Gas prices in San Bruno, Calif., top $6 on Friday. Prices have continued to rise due to the Russian invasion of Ukaine. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
March 12 (UPI) -- Uber has announced it rolled out a temporary fuel surcharge to help drivers cope with the burden of surging gas prices in recent months.
Delivery and ride customers will pay the surcharge, which will go directly to the drivers, Liza Winship, head of driver operations in the United States and Canada, said in a blog post Friday.
New York City will be excluded from the surcharge since drivers there have already received a 5.3% increase to accommodate the city's minimum earnings standard, Winship noted.
She added that the 5.3% increase accounted for increased operating costs and the majority of New York City deliver workers use bicycles instead of cars.
Other ride customers in the United States and Canada will pay a surcharge of either $0.45 or $0.55 per Uber trip, and Uber Eats delivery customers will pay a surcharge of $.0.35 or $0.45 on each order depending on location and local gas prices, according to the announcement.
"The surcharge is temporary for the next 60 days, but we will continue to monitor gas prices and may make additional changes," Winship said.
Winship also mentioned a partnership with GetUpside for drivers to get cash back at more than 25,000 gas stations through linking their credit or debit card.
In its long-term plans, the company is encouraging its drivers to switch to electric vehicles, and offers an incentive of up to $4,000 a year and discounts for drivers who do so, Winship added.
Nationally, average gas prices hit $4.32 on Saturday, according to AAA data, compared to an average of $3.48 a month ago, and nearly $2.84 a year ago.
Rising gas prices as demand outpaced the ability of producers to keep up after loosening of COVID-19 restrictions has been exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war.
Ukraine's gas-transport infrastructure is critical to European gas supplies, but Europe is planning to move toward energy independence in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a ban prohibiting all U.S. sales and imports of Russian oil to put pressure on Moscow in response to the Ukraine invasion.
By Thursday, U.S. average gas prices were already at a record high of nearly $4.32 per gallon, according to the AAA.
While the higher gas prices have been difficult for minimum wage workers already struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living, Adam Shah, the director of national policy at Jobs with Justice told Newsweek, Uber and Lyft drivers have been especially hard hit.
"They're the ones who not only have to drive to get to work, but drive for their work," Shah said.
Shan Dawson, a driver for Uber and Lyft, told KABC-TV in Los Angeles on Thursday that drivers were struggling to make any profit amid the rising gas prices.
"We're barely making any profit and they haven't changed the rates at all," Dawson said.
In a statement to KABC-TV on Thursday, Lyft added that it had taken steps to help drivers amid the rising gas prices.
"Programs like our GetUpside partnership and Lyft Direct cash back debit card are designed directly to save drivers money at the pump, and we'll continue to invest in additional ways to help the driver and the community," the Lyft statement said.