Uber Driver Cost Study

In 2021, Uber Technologies, Inc. retained Anderson Economic Group (AEG) to analyze the average hourly earnings for the company’s Chicago drivers during select reporting periods between 2018 and 2021. We define earnings as the total compensation drivers receive, less the total costs they incur in driving their own vehicles.

To calculate these figures, we:
  • Collected data from Uber regarding Chicago driver earnings, including trip pay, tips, and incentive payments;
  • Constructed a customized cost model to estimate costs incurred by Chicago Uber drivers in providing rideshare services;
  • Identified Chicago Uber drivers’ vehicle characteristics, distance traveled, and time spent driving for Uber; and
  • Subtracted driver costs from driver earnings to arrive at drivers’ net total compensation for the reporting periods studied.
Note: Because some of the periods studied occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, substantially fewer people were requesting rides, thus impacting driver compensation and costs. Findings from this period may not be representative of the typical Uber driver experience during non-pandemic periods of greater mobility.