How Uber Drivers are Coping With Gas Shortages
Last Friday, there was a major gasoline pipeline break in Alabama. This is the main pipeline for gasoline from Houston to New Jersey. Colonial Pipeline notes that Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina will be the first states impacted by the leak. On the first few days, many drivers panicked and rushed to get gas, resulting in long times and many gas stations running out of gas.
The pipeline isn’t the only way to get gasoline. Gasoline can be moved by trucks, boat, and rail. Governors in a few states have allowed gasoline trucks to work longer hours in order to get gasoline to distribution hubs and gas stations. The panic has also died down and with more trucks moving gasoline around, more gas stations have gas available for drivers. Also, Colonial Pipeline has been moving large amounts of gasoline by boat to various states to help ease the gasoline shortages.
How Uber Drivers are Coping
Initially, there are a few drivers who voiced concerns about the gas shortage. Uber drivers drive more then the general public and are more sensitive to the supply of gasoline than the general public. If there is not enough gas, then we can’t earn any money. This also affects any other driver that depends on driving for a living, such as Lyft drivers and delivery drivers and couriers.
There were many other drivers who depends on Uber to pay rent so they had no choice but to drive. Luckily, they had enough gas to survive the panic and was able to get enough gas to keep driving. There were initial reports about gas stations running out of gas but it doesn’t seem as if any drivers I spoke with or drivers they knew ran out of gas and couldn’t work on Uber.
In the past few days, they also noted how Uber drivers have been posting locations on their Local Rideshare Facebook Groups about gas stations with gas. They have been using the local Facebook groups to talk about the gas shortages and also if it was worth driving. From some of the research I have done, it looks like business as usual due to alternative methods of transporting gas. There have been a few news stories about rising gas prices in the midst of the gas shortage, but states like Alabama have instituted a gas price freeze to prevent price gouging.
How Drivers Can Stay Informed
My best advice for any Uber driver is to network with fellow drivers. Many people network in the airport waiting lots but the best way to interact with other Uber drivers are in Facebook Groups. This was the place where many drivers talked about the gas shortages and planned their strategy during the shortage. This was also the place where they told other drivers where to get gas, which was sparse in some areas of the south.
Drivers should also watch the driver map to study surge pricing. If there is excessive surge or surge pricing that lasts longer than you anticipate, you should go out and drive. With the gas shortages (or any other type of driving hazard or shortage), you should drive as long as you feel comfortable with. Luckily in this gas shortage, there weren’t many drivers who drove too much and ran out of gas when they really needed it.
Are you an Uber or Lyft or a delivery driver in the south? Have you had trouble finding gas to drive?
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