Want to make some extra cash with gig economy jobs? You may have thought about working for DoorDash, a big name in online food ordering and delivery in the US.
DoorDash links customers with neighborhood eateries and shops. It also lets independent workers, called Dashers, use their own cars to grab and deliver orders.
But hold on, before you jump in and become a Dasher, you probably have questions.
One big one might be about fuel costs: does DoorDash pay for your gas or give you money back for the miles you drive?
The straightforward answer is no, DoorDash doesn’t cover gas or offer any kind of DoorDash gas reimbursement because you are working in the capacity of an independent contractor. However, don’t let that discourage you. There are strategies to balance out your gas expenses and up your DoorDash earnings to make it worth it.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of how DoorDash pays, ways to keep tabs on your gas and mileage costs, and tips to cut down your gas spending while on DoorDash runs.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know how to make the most money and spend the least on gas as a Dasher.
How DoorDash Pay Works
You are a contracted employee for DoorDash and you get paid for the amount of work you do, nothing more nothing less. So, how does DoorDash pay work, and what should you know about gas costs?
DoorDash Pay Basics
DoorDash pays its drivers using a mix of three things: a base pay, special promotions, and tips from customers.
Base Pay: DoorDash promises you a basic amount for each delivery. It can range from $2 to $10 or even more. This is figured out based on how long the delivery will take and how far you’ll have to drive. They show you this amount before you even accept the delivery job. So, does DoorDash pay for your gas in this? No, they don’t.
Promotions: Sometimes, DoorDash will throw in extra cash incentives to make sure orders get delivered. These can vary depending on where you are, the time, and how busy it is. When these promotions are active, you’ll see them in your app. For example, there might be a “Peak Pay” that adds an extra $2 to each order during dinner time.
Tips: Tips are extra money that customers give you for good service. DoorDash doesn’t mess with your tips; you keep 100% of them.
Examples of Potential Earning
As discussed above, the cash you can make as a DoorDash driver hinges on several things like the number of deliveries you do, the money you get per delivery, and what you shell out for expenses like gas.
For example, let’s say the average cost of gas is $3.89 a gallon and your delivery vehicle gets about 17.5 miles per gallon. Here are a few examples to give you an idea:
- You finish one delivery that pays you $6 base pay, a $2 peak pay, and a $5 tip. You travel 10 miles for this job and it takes you half an hour.
- You make $13 for this delivery ($6 base pay + $2 peak pay + $5 tip).
- Your gas cost is $2.23 (10 miles / 17.5 mpg x $3.89).
- After gas, you’re left with $10.77 ($13 – $2.23).
- So, your hourly rate would be $21.54 (2 x $10.77).
- You complete two deliveries in an hour. Each pays a $4 base pay, a $1.50 challenge bonus, and a $3 tip. You travel a total of 15 miles.
- Each delivery earns you $8.50 ($4 + $1.50 + $3).
- Gas costs you $3.34 for both deliveries (15 miles / 17.5 mpg x $3.89).
- After paying for gas, you keep $13.66 ($17.00 – $3.34).
- Your hourly rate is $13.66.
- In an hour, you do three deliveries. Each has a $3 base pay, $2 bonus, and a $2 tip. You drive 20 miles total.
- Each delivery gets you $7 ($3 + $2 + $2).
- Gas will cost you $4.45 for all three (20 miles / 17.5 mpg x $3.89).
- Your take-home per delivery is $16.55 ($21.00 – $4.45).
- You make $16.55 an hour doing this.
Your earnings can fluctuate based on several factors. To max out your income, aim for orders with higher base pay and promotions, and try to drive during peak hours when people are more likely to tip.
DoorDash is also offering Earn by Time in many markets where Dasher gets paid a guaranteed hourly income for the active Dash time. Most users didn’t find it helpful with their earnings, but you never know, it can work in some markets.
Extra Reading: How Much Does Dasher Make In A Week?
Why Cost Of Gas Matters
If you’re driving for DoorDash, one of the top things you’ve got to keep an eye on is the money you’re spending on gas.
Your real take-home cash can be hit hard by gas expenses, more so now that gas prices are going up nationwide. Here’s why gas money is a big deal for DoorDash drivers:
It Affects Your Bottom Line
This is an obvious one gas spending eats into what you actually make. The more you dole out for gas, the less money lands in your pocket.
It’s on you to pick cars that are good on gas mileage, keep unnecessary driving to a minimum, and be smart about the routes you take.
This helps keep your gas costs low and your earnings high.
DoorDash doesn’t foot the bill for your gas
Like many other delivery gig jobs, DoorDash doesn’t offer gas reimbursement or cover other car-related expenses.
You’ve got to handle your own gas expenses and don’t forget about things like insurance, maintenance, and the natural wear and tear on your car.
These all add up and can take a bite out of your DoorDash earnings. Because you’re considered self-employed, make sure to keep tabs on all these costs for tax time.
Gas prices are on the climb
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that average gas prices shot up by 48%, going from $2.60 a gallon in 2020 to $3.90 in 2022 (around $5 for premium), and has been hovering around that for a while.
What this means for DoorDash drivers is that you’re spending more on gas now than you were a few years before, and that’s eating into your profits.
With gas prices expected to keep going up, it’s smart to keep an eye on local gas rates and tweak your delivery game plan as needed.
DoorDash is a solid choice for making some extra cash and if you go on Reddit DoorDash driver forums, you will find many Dashers making over $1000 a week.
How much you make varies based on things like the base pay DoorDash offers, any special promotions, and the tips you rake in. Rates change based on where you’re driving, what time it is, and how high the demand is.
DoorDash drivers can pull in between $10 and $25 an hour, but that can change depending on how much you’re spending on gas and other car stuff.
All those costs are on you. Smart DoorDash drivers work to keep their gas costs down, pick fuel-efficient rides, limit how much they drive, and plan out the best routes.
Also, don’t forget to track all your spending so you can write it off come tax time (discussed later in this article).
Extra Reading: How to DoorDash For The First Time?
Tips to Save on Gas While Driving for DoorDash
DoorDash doesn’t cover gas, but they do offer ways to offset this cost.
One such method is their gas rewards program and another is the DasherDirect card.
Both of these can be significant in helping you save on gas costs. Let’s find out how to make the most of these features.
How Does DoorDash Help with Gas Costs?
DoorDash has created a gas rewards program, specifically for drivers who utilize their DasherDirect card.
This is a prepaid Visa debit card, made just for DoorDash drivers, or “Dashers” as they are commonly called. Here’s how the DasherDirect card can put money back in your pocket:
- Immediate, Fee-Free Direct Deposits: With the DasherDirect card, you’ll get paid right after each dash and there won’t be any deposit fees, unlike Fast Pay. You can easily access your money through the DasherDirect app or take out cash from one of the 20,000 no-fee ATMs across the nation.
- Cash Back Rewards: Does DoorDash offer gas reimbursement? Not directly, but with this card, you get a minimum of 2% cash back on gas at any U.S. station. Plus, you can get cash back at hundreds of other places like restaurants, grocery stores, and online shopping. Just check the Perks section in the DasherDirect app.
- Wellness Benefits: The card also gives you free access to Wellness Core. This feature provides various perks such as life and accident insurance, and consultation with well-being advisors.
To get the DasherDirect card, head over to the Earnings section in your DoorDash app and fill out the form.
You don’t need to worry about a credit check, and you can start using a virtual version of the card right away.
They’ll also send you a physical card in the mail, which you can use for DoorDash gas expenses and more.
Ways to Conserve Gas and Boost Mileage
Beyond the DasherDirect card and gas rewards program, you can do more to reduce your gas spending. Here are some suggestions:
- Smart Route Planning: Make use of the DoorDash app or navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze to plot out the most efficient delivery routes. This DoorDash hack helps you avoid traffic jams, roadblocks, and tolls. Try to pick orders that are near each other or on the same path to lessen your driving distance and time.
- Opt for a Gas-Savvy Vehicle: If possible, choose a car that’s known for excellent fuel economy and low emissions. Hybrids or electric cars are good choices, as they can lead to even more gas savings. Apps like Fuelio or Fuelly can help you monitor your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
- Keep Your Car in Top Shape: Regular maintenance, according to your vehicle’s guidelines, can go a long way. Check things like tire pressure, oil levels, and air filters routinely. Keeping your vehicle well-maintained not only helps with fuel efficiency but also prevents possible breakdowns.
- Be Smart About Where You Fill Up: Use apps like GasBuddy or GasGuru to find the cheapest gas near you. Loyalty programs and coupons from gas stations can further reduce your costs. Also, steer clear of gas stations near highways or airports, as they usually have higher prices.
So, while DoorDash doesn’t directly pay for your gas or offer gas reimbursement, using the DasherDirect card and these tips can help you save significantly on fuel costs.
More Ways to Save Money On Gas
Cutting down on gas costs can make a big difference in how much money you take home at the end of the day.
First off, DoorDash discontinued the weekly gas bonus for high-mileage Dashers in 2022. So you might be asking, “Does DoorDash pay for your gas?” or searching for DoorDash gas reimbursement options. The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on gas in other ways. Here’s how:
Track Your Miles:
Use a mileage tracking app to keep an eye on how far you’re driving, how much you’re spending on gas, and what tax breaks you could get.
These apps can help you pick the best routes and avoid going out of your way. These apps can also show you the cheapest gas stations nearby and give you some cash back when you fill up.
Cash-Back Cards at the Pump:
Use a cash-back credit card when you buy gas if you are not using Dasher Direct or there are higher rewards available. You’ll get some of your money back every time you fill up.
Some good options for these cards are PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card, Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, and Citi Custom Cash Card.
These can offer up to 5% cash back when you buy gas at certain places.
Use Cash-Back Apps:
These are apps that give you cash back on gas, no matter how you pay.
Just scan your receipts, or link your loyalty cards, and you’ll get some money back. Top apps in this category for 2023 include Fetch Rewards, Checkout 51, and Dosh.
These can offer up to 10% cash back on gas at participating stores.
Think About Biking or Scootering:
Want to really cut down on gas costs? Consider doing your deliveries on a scooter or bike. If your ride does not need the gas then there is no need to worry about gas costs plus it is a free workout and you are getting paid at the same time.
Plus, you dodge traffic and parking fees, and you save on wear and tear on your car.
So, while DoorDash might not cover gas or offer DoorDash gas reimbursement, there are plenty of other ways to save. Keep these tips in mind to make the most out of your time on the road.
Extra Reading: Stuck on DoorDash waitlist!
Save Money on Taxes as a Dasher
If you work for DoorDash, you’re well aware that driving is a big part of the gig. You’re in your car a lot, delivering meals to people’s doors.
Here’s some good news: you can get some of that money back at tax time.
The tax people, or IRS, let you knock some of these costs off your income when it’s time to pay taxes.
But DoorDash does not track miles, so you’ve got to keep an eye on how much you drive and what you spend.
Basically, there are two ways to calculate your deductions: the “standard mileage rate” and the “actual expenses method.” Let’s break them down.
The Standard Mileage Rate Way
This is the easiest way. Just keep track of the miles you drive for DoorDash.
Multiply those miles by the rate the IRS gives for that year. For example, in 2023, it’s 65.5 cents a mile. You can also include any parking fees and tolls.
So, let’s say you drove 10,000 miles and spent $200 on parking and tolls. Your math would look like this: 10,000 x 0.655 + 200 = $6,750. That’s $6,750 you can knock off your income when you pay taxes.
This method is straightforward, but it has some rules. You can’t use it if:
- You use more than one car for DoorDash.
- Your car is something you rent out, like a taxi.
- You’re already using another tax break for your car’s value going down over time.
The Actual Expenses Way
Now, this method is a bit more work but can save you more money, especially if you have high car expenses. You need to keep track of everything: gas, oil changes, repairs, tires, and even insurance and loan interest.
At the end of the year, add up all these expenses. Multiply that total by the percentage of miles you drove for DoorDash. And yes, add in parking and tolls again.
For example, if you drove 10,000 DoorDash miles and spent $8,000 on your car, plus $200 for parking and tolls, your deduction might look like this: 10,000/15,000 x $8,000 + 200 = $5,533.33.
So, you’d get to lower your income by $5,533.33 when you do your taxes.
How to Keep Track
No matter which method you choose, you’ve got to keep track of all this stuff:
- Date of each DoorDash trip
- Where you went
- Why you went
- Starting and ending mileage
- Parking fees and tolls
And yes, keep those receipts! Whether it’s gas or repairs, stash those receipts somewhere safe.
you’ll want to keep track of all the money you spend on things like gas, car repairs, and insurance.
This will help you at tax time, and there are a few easy ways to do this: you can use a simple paper logbook, a computer spreadsheet, or a specialized app that tracks mileage and expenses for you.
Everlance: Apps like Everlance make life simpler by doing the heavy lifting. Everlance automatically keeps tabs on how far you drive and what you spend, separating business and personal use.
You can upload receipts and even monitor your earnings, which helps when figuring out if Doordash pays enough to cover gas and other costs. The app is free to use for up to 30 trips each month, but if you need more, it’s $5 per month.
TripLog: Another option is TripLog, which also helps with DoorDash gas reimbursement come tax time.
This app is super flexible, giving you six different ways to track your trips, whether that’s through Bluetooth, GPS, or manually entering the info.
You can keep an eye on how efficient your car is with fuel, upload any receipts, and generate tax reports. It’s free if you have up to five vehicles and take 40 trips or less per month. For unlimited tracking, you’ll pay $10 monthly.
Hurdlr: It is also a solid choice for keeping track of whether DoorDash covers the gas costs through your earnings. This app not only tracks your mileage and expenses but also allows you to link your bank and credit card accounts.
This way, you can keep a close eye on your income and taxes, upload any receipts you have, and even set financial goals for yourself. It’s free for two vehicles and up to 100 trips each month, and if you need more, it’s $8 a month.
Using these tax deduction methods, you’re essentially getting a form of DoorDash gas reimbursement when you lower your taxable income.
Extra Reading: How to Become A Top Dasher?
What Other Dashers Are Saying
One of the burning questions for those considering becoming a DoorDash driver or those already on the road – is, “Does DoorDash cover gas costs?” Simply put, DoorDash doesn’t reimburse for fuel because drivers are independent contractors, not employees. As one driver puts it:
“No, DoorDash does not pay for gas. As independent contractors, Dashers are responsible for their vehicle and fuel costs. They’re essentially running their own small delivery business.”
While DoorDash doesn’t cover gas, drivers aren’t entirely on their own when it comes to fuel expenses. There are some strategies that drivers have shared on platforms like Quora and Reddit to help manage these costs as we have discussed above, like.
Be Smart About Order Selection
Opt for orders that are worth your time and fuel. Some drivers even have a rule of thumb, like targeting $2 per mile or at least $1 per mile. As you consider orders, also think about the time and distance to get back to your preferred area once the job is done. One driver comments:
“Don’t go into this thinking you’ll make hundreds of dollars a day. There will be times when you’re lucky to break $100, especially if you’re accepting low-paying or long-distance orders.”
Take Advantage of the Gas Relief Program as discussed in the above pointers.
Keep Your Vehicle in Good Shape
Regular maintenance can improve fuel efficiency. That means regular oil changes, air filter replacements, and keeping tabs on spark plugs and tires.
An efficiently running car can help you save on fuel over the long haul.
Drivers also suggest removing unnecessary weight, avoiding idling, driving smoothly, and using cruise control whenever feasible.
The cost of gas can be the difference between whether this gig will cut for you or not, as this Dasher said, “I pay about $2.30 a gallon for gas. If it were over $4, I wouldn’t be doing DoorDash, especially since my vehicle isn’t fuel-efficient. It’s just a side hustle, not my main income source.”
By adopting these tips and strategies, DoorDash drivers can mitigate the impact of fuel costs and maximize their earnings.
Final Words On If DoorDash Pay For Gas
So the simple answer is no, DoorDash doesn’t cover gas.
However, there are ways to cut fuel costs and boost earnings. Opt for a fuel-efficient vehicle or use a bike for short trips to save on gas. Use a mileage tracking app to log business miles and expenses, which you can deduct from your taxes.
Other ways to save on gas costs are to leverage cash-back credit cards and rewards programs at gas stations to get discounts or rebates.
Pick the best DoorDash times to maximize orders and tips while avoiding high-traffic hours and costly parking zones.
Be selective about orders; decline low-paying or long-distance jobs that aren’t worth your time and gas. Aim for higher customer ratings to secure more orders and better tips.
Although DoorDash doesn’t offer gas reimbursement, these strategies can help you manage your expenses and maximize your earnings.
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Sumeet is a Certified Financial Education Instructor℠ (CFEI®) and founder of MoneyFromSideHustle. He is an experienced side hustler who replaced his full-time income with side hustles. His work has been quoted on major finance websites like CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, GOBankingRates, MSN, Nasdaq, AOL, and more. He has helped thousands of people find side hustles and is here to help you find your extra source of income. More about him.