Uber, Lyft introduce surcharges as gas prices spike; state lawmaker calls for tax cap

22 Mar 2022

BY CHARLIE DE MAR

MARCH 14, 2022 / 10:57 PM / CBS CHICAGO

CHICAGO (CBS) — The average price of gas right now in the Chicago area is $4.67 a gallon, but if you’re stuck paying a premium, you’re probably shelling out at least $5.47 a gallon.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the sky-high cost at the pump is also leading to surcharges for both Uber and Lyft riders. Lyft has now increased prices to help drivers, while Uber did the same last week.

One lawmaker has a plan to help long-term by capping the gas tax. But as gas prices continue to reach record highs, some rideshare drivers are also rethinking the gig 

“Rideshare drivers right now, their minds are blown,” said Lenny Sanchez of the Independent Drivers Guild, an advocacy group of for rideshare drivers in Chicago.

A gallon of regular has reached an average of $4.56 a gallon statewide in Illinois – up nearly $1.50 from a year ago.

“The gas prices, as you know, are astronomical,” Sanchez said, “and it’s affected people’s habits they’re either choosing to no longer do this type of work, or to do it last and be more selective.”

Lyft followed Uber’s lead and increased prices on the app to account for the cost of gas. Food delivery through uber will also cost up to 45 cents more.  

State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) introduced a bill to cap the state gas tax at 18 cents per gallon.

“We just want to cap it, you know?” Batinick said. “This will not blow a hole in the budget.”

in addition to everyone paying more at the pump, Illinois also collects sales tax on top of it.

“When the price of gasoline doubles, it’s actually a windfall in revenue for the state – but it’s gouging on top of gouging for the consumer,” Batinick said. “The state should not be seeing a windfall off of what really is middle class lower-income people.”

Uber riders will face a gas surcharge of up to 55 cents for the next 60 days. Lyft did not specify how much they are increasing fares.