With higher-than-average gas prices, food delivery drivers are curious about whether or not they’ll be compensated for gas — which can be one of your biggest expenses while delivering!
In this article, we’re going to answer the question: Does DoorDash pay for gas?
DoorDash currently holds 65% of the U.S. food delivery market, and drivers make $15 to $25/hour, work flexible hours, and get paid weekly. Read on to learn whether or not DoorDash compensates for gas in [current year].
Does DoorDash Pay for Gas?
The short answer is no, DoorDash does not pay for gas for its delivery drivers. In fact, none of the top delivery services (think: Uber Eats, Instacart, Grubhub, or Shipt) cover gas for their delivery drivers.
In early 2022, DoorDash announced a gas rewards program for Dashers to offset the rising cost of fuel. The program includes:
- 10% cash back on gas for U.S. Dashers who use their DasherDirect card, which is a prepaid Visa debit card specifically for Dashers. The card is open to all Dashers — there are no fees or credit check required to apply — and DasherDirect has the added benefit of free FastPay, which is DoorDash’s instant cash-out feature.
- A weekly gas bonus for high-mileage Dashers. There were three bonus tiers: 100 miles, 175 miles, and 225 miles. For DoorDash drivers who earned the weekly gas bonus and the cash back reward, DoorDash estimated that they'd receive anywhere from $1.65 to $2.00 per gallon of gas.
The weekly gas bonus was discontinued in the summer of ‘22, but the 10% cash back on gas using your DasherDirect card was extended according to DoorDash.
Learn more in our full DoorDash Driver Review.
About DoorDash Pay
Before we get any further, let’s talk about what Doordash drivers are paid for — DoorDash pays drivers per order, not a flat hourly rate or salary. The average DoorDash driver pay comes out to $15 to $25/hour.
The DoorDash pay model includes:
- Base Pay: This ranges from $2 to $10 per order, and the amount is determined by the time, distance, and desirability of the order. You’ll see this amount before you accept the order, and you always keep 100% of your base pay.
- Promotions: Peak Pay and Challenges are the current DoorDash promotions that are offered to drivers to increase their earnings. Peak Pay is when the app is busier that normal, and the in-app map lights up with a plus sign and dollar amount, which is the additional amount you’ll earn on top of the base pay and is typically between $1-$4 extra per delivery. Challenges are currently in beta mode, and they can be things like “Complete X number of deliveries in a set amount of time.” If you complete the challenge, you’ll receive the bonus pay, and Dashers can earn challenge bonuses on top of Peak Pay.
- Tips: Dashers keep 100% of their tips, and DoorDash encourages customers to tip in the app.
Why Doesn’t DoorDash Pay for Gas?
DoorDash doesn’t pay for gas because DoorDash drivers are independent contractors. Independent contractors aren’t employees, and laws regarding compensation are different for independent contractors.
See, when you start delivering for DoorDash, you’re agreeing to DoorDash’s Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA), which is a legal document that outlines the responsibilities and requirements of DoorDash and its contractors.
In the ICA, there is a specific portion regarding equipment and expenses, which outlines if DoorDash pays for gas. Here’s what it says:
- CONTRACTOR represents that they have or can lawfully acquire all equipment, including vehicles and food thermal bags ("Equipment") necessary for performing Contracted Services, and CONTRACTOR is solely responsible for ensuring that any vehicle used conforms to all vehicle laws pertaining to registration, safety, equipment, inspection, and operational capability.
- CONTRACTOR agrees that they are responsible for all costs and expenses arising from CONTRACTOR's performance of Contracted Services, including, but not limited to, costs related to CONTRACTOR's Personnel (defined below) and Equipment. Except as otherwise required by law, CONTRACTOR assumes all risk of damage or loss to their Equipment.
The simplest way of understanding that portion of the ICA is that Dashers are responsible for acquiring a vehicle and any additional equipment required to deliver, and Dashers are responsible for any costs associated with delivering — this includes gas.
How to Take Tax Deductions for Gas
Despite the fact that DoorDash doesn’t pay for gas, gas (and any other expenses) can be deducted at tax time — this is one of the benefits of being an independent contractor.
There are two ways to take a gas deduction if you deliver for DoorDash:
- Federal standard reimbursement for mileage: The IRS offers a standard mileage deduction of 62.5 cents per mile in 2022 and 65.5 cents per mile in 2023. It’s meant to cover any of the expenses you’d take as a DoorDash driver, including gas. With this deduction, you need to track the miles you spend delivering for DoorDash and use this when you file your DoorDash taxes.
- Actual expenses: With this option, you need to accurately track how much you spend on gas, maintenance, tolls and parking fees, equipment, phone and cell service, insurance, roadside assistance, inspections, and any other costs associated with delivery for DoorDash. Taking actual expenses is often the better deduction, but it requires more tracking than the standard deduction.
You can learn more about taxes in our DoorDash Tax Guide.
Tips for DoorDash Drivers to Save Money on Gas
Finding ways to save money on gas can help you reduce your expenses as a DoorDash driver, so let’s go over some tips for saving money on gas:
- Drive a fuel efficient car. If you have a choice of vehicle, a fuel efficient car is almost always going to be a better choice. The more miles per gallon the better!
- Track your mileage. Tracking the miles you spend delivering for DoorDash is how you take the most accurate deduction at tax time. You can manually track your miles by making note of your mileage when you stop and start is one option, but using a mileage tracking app, like Everlance, is an easier option.
- Drive safe. Following the speed limit and not braking too quickly are simple ways to save on fuel when you drive.
- Get a cash back gas card. The DasherDirect card is one option because you earn 10% back on gas purchases, but there are also credit cards that offer cash back when you purchase gas.
- Deliver during busy times. The DoorDash app gets busy during certain times of the day, and that’s when you can earn the most money. This isn’t technically a way to save money on gas, but you’ll make more money to cover your fuel expenses. Learn more in Best Times to DoorDash.
Final Word: Is DoorDash Worth It With the Cost of Gas?
Even though you came with the question “Does DoorDash pay for gas?”, that’s not the bigger question. Knowing that DoorDash does not pay for gas, you’ve got to decide if delivering is worth it.
The answer depends on your goals. If you’re looking for a flexible side hustle that allows you to make money in your spare time, then Doordash is an excellent choice! You can schedule your hours in advance, drive when you spare time, get paid daily or weekly, and drivers make $15 to $25/hour on average.
But make sure that you track your expenses, so you can deduct gas when it’s time to pay your taxes!
DoorDash’s pay model increases factors distance into your base pay. They aren’t clear about what constitutes as a longer delivery, but you can expect a higher base pay for orders that are farther away, more difficult, or more desirable.
No, the DoorDash Red Card can only be used for purchasing customer orders. Most orders are paid for in advance, but if you happen to accept an order that isn’t paid for, you can use the Red Card to purchase it. However, the Red Card can’t be used to pay for gas.
When fuel prices spiked in early 2022, DoorDash placed a fuel surcharge on customer orders. The idea was to help Dashers offset the cost of gas, but the surcharge was discontinued as gas prices began to drop later in 2022.
No, other food delivery companies — like Instacart, Grubhub, Postmate, and Uber Eats — do not pay for gas because couriers are considered independent contractors like they are with DoorDash.