Many San Diegans who rely on their cars to make a living are feeling the effects of record inflation, much of it due to high gas prices.
“Anything I can find to do extra to make a little bit of more money, I will," food-delivery driver Alex Silva said.
Silva said she has been a personal shopper and food-delivery driver for the past six years, a gig that works well for her schedule, since she also runs a side business making crafts. Lately, she’s been feeling pain at the pump.
"Five dollars a gallon is ridiculous," Silva said. "We’re having all our money go to our gas, our wear-and-tear, and the companies are not paying for our gas mileage."
Similar to working for a rideshare company, Silva accepts orders from a mobile app to pick up groceries or do personal shopping for customers. Gigs like those rely on the worker to have their own vehicle and front their own gas, vehicle repairs and car insurance, costs that, more than ever, are critical during this period of high inflation.
“One of the gigs I do, they actually pay me $7.50 to go deliver to Oceanside from Chula Vista, and $7.50 doesn’t even pay for my gas," said Silva.
Spiking gas prices are making some drivers reconsider their jobs, but, during a tough economy and as the holidays approach, Silva, like many others, will pick up jobs for even just a few extra bucks and the joy of helping others.
"For me, it's whenever I see an order that has baby food or baby stuff, I know that family is struggling to get to the store, so I take those order to make them not leave the house," Silva said.
The latest Consumer Price Index for October recorded a 6.2% increase in prices, year over year, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marking the largest increase in over 30 years.
“I love to deliver to the elderly," Silva said. "They’re the sweetest people. They're so thankful. Everyone is thankful, but the elderly ... I don’t want them to come to the store, and it makes me happy knowing they're safe from everything."
Since drivers are mainly considered independent contractors, many companies do not pay for mileage. Instead, drivers are encouraged to track the mileage and submit it for a tax deduction.