High gas prices hurting people who drive for a living
"It’s the dreaded moment of the day, it’s going to hurt," said Tonje Ettesvoll with anxiety as she was about to put gas in her compact SUV on Monday.
Ettsevoll has been a ride share driver for five years, but this was the first time she’s had to pay almost $6 for a gallon of gasoline.
"Gas is $5.78, that’s insane amount of money. That’s twice as much as when I started five years ago and I’m making half the money," she said adding, "I used to fill up my tank for about $32 around there. Now it’s over $50, so of course, everything you’re earning it just eats into that."
According to AAA, gas prices in San Diego County set records nearly every day. On Monday a gallon was 55 cents more than a week ago.
"You gotta get every last drop with these kind of prices," said Tonje as she tapped the gas handle in her tank.
Ettsevoll said ride share drivers are on the edge. "I hear a lot of anger out there, there’s a lot of drivers who want to strike, there’s a lot of frustration, and I even talked to a driver that’s living in his car," she said.
She said most people have the misconception that when they pay a high rate, she is pocketing a big part of it. That’s not the case.
"I had a passenger that was very upset that he paid $85 for his ride and I said, ‘wow that’s a lot, what do you think I got?' $18 out of 85 so it’s really, really tough. And it makes it harder to justify going out late at night picking up people who are drunk when you don’t get paid good money," she said.
Ettesvoll said she got into the business for the flexibility that companies like Uber and Lyft tout, but inflation and gas prices that climb by the hour are squeezing her dry.
"When everything increases in price, the gas increases, everything around you, your rent, your food, then and you can’t pay for your rent and you can’t pay food, then where’s the flexibility in that? There’s no flexibility in being poor," she said.