TAMPA, Fla — Gas prices hit their highest level nationwide on Tuesday at $4.17 cents a gallon, a shocking difference from last year. Now those who drive and deliver for a living say they're barely getting by.
"In two days it's gone up 20-26 cents! It cost me $28.00 for half a tank of gas. It's getting ridiculous," Kristen Finelli said.
The Tampa Lyft driver has fallen into the routine of feeling the pain at the pump every time she prepares to go out driving.
Seeing numbers at the pump is making drivers across the Tampa Bay area concerned about driving because finding rides actually worth the mileage and the price they pay here isn't easy. Now some worry their livelihood will be threatened.
AAA says Tampa and St. Pete are some of the least expensive metros in the state with prices just over four dollars. But still, the increase is hurting those that need the gas to support themselves.
"I don't have extra cash. This is my bill money, this is my rent money. I have to drive," Finelli said.
According to some drivers, Uber's recent model change is hurting drivers, keeping more of the money they make on their drivers and not giving them back a fair profit.
"I find myself being more discriminating about the rides that I do take. I'm taking a lot of the shorter rides. The people going to and from bars or going home," Joshua Lapin-Bertone said.
The Uber driver says the shorter rides tend to give more money and waste less gas compared to the longer rides that will waste more fuel and now cost less.
With Florida's gas prices being the most expensive in 14 years, some drivers like Joshua say they might quit. While he can afford it, others can't.
"If I can't drive that takes money out of my pocket and it makes it harder for me to take care of my family," Finelli said.
10 Tampa Bay reached out to both Uber and Lyft to see if they're helping drivers who are trying to navigate through this time. Both companies say they're supporting drivers where they can.
“We know higher prices at the pump can be a challenge, which is why we recently launched a new feature that helps drivers save up to 25¢ per gallon through cash back with GetUpSide. Our platform only works if it works for drivers, so we’ll continue to monitor gas prices and listen to drivers over the coming weeks.”
"We care deeply about the driver experience and we’ve taken concrete steps to help given rising gas prices. Our investments in programs like our GetUpside partnership and the Lyft Direct cash back debit card are designed to directly save drivers money at the pump. We’ll continue to explore other ways to help the driver community.
To help drivers manage the increase in gas prices, we’ve partnered with GetUpside on a fuel cashback program. Drivers with Lyft can now earn up to 32¢/gal cashback on fuel at over 25,000 stations nationwide (more below/here).
Drivers who use their Lyft Direct debit card can also earn up to 2% cashback on gas at select locations."