Covington area delivery and gas-powered businesses see price impact

COVINGTON, Ga. – Brenda Francis, who works locally as an Uber Eats and Amazon Flex driver, said high fuel prices have hurt her pockets, as well as her livelihood.

Before the state’s average price per gallon hit record highs this week, the Covington resident said she could fill her vehicle’s gas tank with just $45. Now that cost has risen to over $60.

“So more money goes into gas and less goes into my family,” she told The Covington News.

Francis and many others in the community and across the country are feeling the pinch at the pumps after the average price per gallon in Georgia soared to a record high of $4.29 per gallon this week.

“I know everyone would say, ‘Why not get a better job?’ But when you have kids, your life has to revolve around them,” said Francis, who has worked full-time as a driver since 2019 and doesn’t plan to stop now. “I love doing this job. And I’m really good at it. I just pray things get better soon…”

Francis is one of the few drivers who stays true to his job as a driver for Uber, DoorDash and other ride-sharing or delivery companies.

Area resident Destany Ferguson said: ‘My husband, Blake, was doing Uber Eats, and he quit because he would use everything [the money] he made it in a day to put it back in his tank to go home after driving around the delivery.

Another resident, Andrea George, said, “I left Instacart because the gas is getting too high and they don’t pay enough for gas or in general.”

Tiffany Joyce Hutcheson commented: “[I] I haven’t done a DoorDash in about a month because of gas prices!

But Uber and Lyft drivers recently received a pay rise after adding what company officials say is a “temporary” supplement to help combat rising fuel costs and keep drivers employees.

“We know prices have risen across the economy, so we have done our best to help drivers and couriers without placing too much of an additional burden on consumers,” said a press release from officials. ‘Uber. “Over the next few weeks, we plan to listen carefully to feedback from consumers, couriers and drivers.”

Because of this surcharge which translates into a raise for drivers, area Uber driver Ed Phillips said he was not negatively affected.

“Uber recently increased our wages,” he said. “It depends on the city you are in. Personally, I was not affected at all.”

Uber officials said they are using this time as a platform to “reinforce” efforts to get more drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

“Drivers going electric can already enjoy higher earning potential through Uber’s Green Future program, which offers EV driver incentives such as $1 more per trip for up to 4 $000 per year,” the press release read. “We have also negotiated driver discounts on key electric vehicle models and special offers on charging. And our latest partnership with Hertz will make up to 50,000 all-electric Teslas available to eligible drivers for rental by 2023. This is the largest EV expansion on a mobility platform in North America, marking another step towards Uber’s zero emissions goal.

As a business built around gas-powered equipment, Jacob Jensen, co-owner and operator of Yellow River Landscaping in Covington, said day-to-day operational costs have “increased significantly”.

“It has dramatically increased the price of our daily operations simply by adding to the daily cost to fill all our equipment, as well as creating a ripple effect with increasing inflation of all the materials we buy for larger jobs” , says Jensen. “When it costs more to distribute a product, obviously the cost of the product increases, and then it becomes more difficult for us to do our job at a reasonable price.”

Jensen said the cost of services must have increased, but only by the same amount as the material increases. As for lawn care prices, he said they might have to make adjustments.

“We have tried, so far, to keep our prices consistent, with maintenance in particular,” he said. “However, with the constant increase in gas prices, we may have to increase our lawn care prices mid-year, which we try to avoid as much as possible for the sake of our clients.”

With the future of oil and gas prices cloudy, Jensen said his company will continue to monitor the numbers and “hold on” until that is no longer possible.

“In the short term, like most other businesses in our region I guess, we’re just trying to hold on to be competitive in the market and not upset our customers, but it’s probably only a matter of time. before we had to raise our prices like everyone else,” Jensen said. “Right now, all we can do is keep a close eye on the numbers and understand what we can afford with the best interests of everyone who chooses to do business with us in mind. .”

But Georgians may soon get relief at the pumps.

The Georgia Senate unanimously passed a bill Thursday to temporarily suspend the state’s gasoline sales tax, which would save just over 29 cents per gallon of gasoline up to May 31. All that was needed Thursday afternoon for the legislation to take effect was Governor Brian. Kemp’s signature.

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