Amazon Flex Drivers Call on Amazon to Help With High Gas Costs
Amazon delivery drivers rallied in Los Angeles today to demand the company follow DoorDash, Uber, Lyft and other gig work providers in helping to offset soaring gas costs for their drivers.
Amazon Flex Drivers, independent contractors who deliver Amazon packages through an app similar to DoorDash, use their own vehicles and fuel for deliveries. Gas prices soared to over $4 a gallon in most of the country due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sent oil prices skyrocketing.
Uber and Lyft have added gas supplements to user rides to ease drivers’ pain at the pump. Meanwhile, DoorDash has launched a “Gas Rewards Program” that offers U.S. delivery drivers a prepaid business Visa credit card to earn 10% cash back on gas to offset the sharp increase in price. All three companies said the measures were temporary, but it’s unclear when prices will return to normal.
Amazon, on the other hand, did not offer any type of compensation or gas bonuses for Flex drivers. Some of the Rally Flex Drivers told CNBC that up to half of their pay went on gas now that prices have risen and some are opting for other jobs or driving for other contracting companies instead.
Switching to electric or hybrid vehicles could also be a way for drivers to save money on gas, but the electric vehicle market remains inaccessible to most low-income drivers, and they make up the majority of the population of VTC drivers and flexible drivers. Companies like Uber and Lyft have pledged to help drivers use electric vehicles to offset gas-powered car emissions, and Amazon has also committed to switch part of its delivery fleet to electric (although these electric vehicles are not intended for contracted Flex drivers).
“Our delivery partners play a vital role in serving customers every day,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement to Protocol. “We are monitoring the situation closely and listening to their concerns. Amazon Flex Delivery Partners are earning some of the best in the industry at over $26 per hour on average. We have already made several adjustments through price increases in affected areas to help alleviate some of the financial challenges and as the situation evolves we will continue to make changes where we can to help support our partners.”