Startups

Gridwise will provide gig economy drivers with gas subsidies of 50 cents per gallon

The announcement from the Pittsburgh startup comes shortly after its $12.7 million Series A, and amid record-high gas prices in the United States.
A Pittsburgh startup is addressing the rising costs of fuel.

On the tails of a $12.7 million Series A, rideshare and delivery business app startup Gridwise announced today that it would provide its drivers with gas discounts of 50 cents per gallon to help drivers manage the record-high fuel prices in the United States today. Previously, the startup offered 2 cents off per gallon. This new initiative comes from a partnership between Gridwise and GasBuddy.

The news comes after leading delivery platform companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash ended their gas assistance programs, which only offered 45 cents off per gallon and $5 bonuses for every 100 miles driven, respectively. As of this writing, Uber’s ride-hailing customers still receive a surcharge of 55 cents per gallon to support costs for drivers on that side of the business.

Today, according to AAA, the national average regular gas price is $5.016 per gallon. Only a month ago it was $4.452, and a year ago it was $3.080. Today’s price marks the highest recorded average price.

Though Gridwise itself is not a ride-hailing or delivery app, its platform provides a system of business support for drivers working in those industries. Now serving 10% of that workforce, according to company data, the Gridwise app provides drivers with insights into demand, earnings, activity tracking, performance reporting and a benefits marketplace. Those using its platform give helpful data to the company, too; Gridwise has started to leverage this through its Gridwise Analytics platform, which has the capability to provide the most comprehensive gig mobility dataset yet, the company said.

“Gas prices are having a significant impact on the viability of gig-driving, as well on consumer rideshare and delivery prices,” Gridwise cofounder and CEO Ryan Green said in a statement. “As a company focused on helping gig-drivers maximize their bottomline, we’re glad to be positioned to further support them with bringing down a very top-of-mind expense.”

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Gridwise CEO Ryan Green. (Courtesy photo)

In March, national news outlets detailed the struggles many gig economy drivers faced amid fast-rising gas prices. But those costs have only gone up since then, creating a potential to hurt the industry as some drivers decide the cost is too high to continue working in the industry. That would create a problem for Gridwise, which relies heavily on the industry’s existence. (It wouldn’t be the first time the company faced an unexpected pivot.)

In the short term, this new subsidy from Gridwise will likely motivate more drivers to use the business platform. To receive the gas assistance, drivers first have to download the Gridwise app and order their Gridwise gas cards from there. The cards work at nearly all major gas stations and will enable drivers to receive the 50 cent discount for up to 100 gallons, a press release said. And notably, the Gridwise assistance does not simply pass on the cost of the gas to the customer, but instead is supported by brand partnerships the startup has formed with the goal of easing challenges for drivers.

“The Gridwise Gas program is not a solo effort,” Gridwise Director of Brand Partnerships Clay Moore said. “We’ve been able to partner with brands who want to support drivers by contributing to these subsidies as well. It’s a great opportunity for them to make an impact, and drivers take notice of who is in their corner.”


Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Gridwise
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