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The Most Lucrative States for Rideshare Drivers [2023 Data Study]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

295 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3228 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Chauffeuring people around your city might not be the most glamorous job, but it can turn out to be a lucrative side hustle. With rideshare drivers using their own vehicles to transport passengers, the world of ridesharing has taken the spotlight as a means to earn some extra cash or even supplement a full-time income.

Still, one major question remains unanswered: How much do rideshare drivers make, and could you potentially earn enough to get by in your state? To find out, we analyzed the average rideshare driver earnings by hour to the income needed to live comfortably in every state. Read on to see whether it pays to do rideshare in your hometown. 

The Best and Worst States To Be a Rideshare Driver

U.S. map showing the 10 best and 10 worst states for rideshare drivers
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Certain states can be a rideshare driver’s dream, while others are full of endless detours. We analyzed the best and worst states for rideshare drivers, taking into account factors such as the number of daily trips required to live comfortably, car insurance costs, gas prices, population density, and more.

With a score of 72.6 out of 100, Tennessee secured the top spot. It stands out as the best state for rideshare drivers, with an hourly earning rate of $20.31, surpassing all other states. Those in Tennessee enjoy a net earning of $8.97 per trip and low annual car insurance rates of $1,373.

Rhode Island secures the second spot with a score of 66.8 out of 100, making it a top city for rideshare drivers, thanks to its high population density (1,057.8 people per square mile) which allows for greater efficiency within smaller areas. Rhode Island rideshare drivers can also earn an average hourly rideshare wage of $18.71.

Ohio secures the third spot with a score of 66.5 out of 100, closely followed by Massachusetts with a score of 64.6 out of 100. Ohioans face an average gas price of $3.36 per gallon and earn a net income of approximately $7.96 per trip. Meanwhile, rideshare drivers in Massachusetts can enjoy an hourly rideshare wage of $19.41 and benefit from a population density of 895.1 people per square mile.

On the flip side, there are states that rideshare drivers may want to avoid. New Mexico takes the unfortunate spot as the worst, scoring a mere 21.5 out of 100. The average hourly wage for rideshare drivers in New Mexico is low at $14.34.

Montana lands in the 49th spot with a score of 22.7 out of 100, making it a wasteland for rideshare drivers. With a low population density of 7.71 people per square mile, drivers may find themselves wasting considerable time between trips.

States like North Carolina (ranked 47th) and California (ranked 46th) unexpectedly landed among the worst states for rideshare drivers. North Carolinians face an hourly rideshare wage of only $13.75, while their counterparts in California fare slightly better at $16.77. Those in California have a net earning of $6.82 per trip.

Californians must contend with inflated gas prices ($4.82) and substantial annual car insurance rates ($2,115), despite exhibiting a significant level of online rideshare interest (63 out of 100). 

How Much Drivers Have To Make To Earn a Living Wage in Every State

To find out whether the average salary for rideshare drivers in each state would be enough to pay the bills, we analyzed factors like the hourly rideshare wage, average earnings per trip and per mile, and maintenance expenses in each state. We then compared the earnings per trip/mile to the annual income required for a comfortable lifestyle, taking into account state-specific expenses. 

We discovered that the average driver needs to make approximately 25.8 trips (or drive 139.4 miles) every day for 365 days per year in order to earn enough for a comfortable living. 

Certain states fall both above and below this benchmark. For example, drivers in Tennessee can achieve their state’s living wage ($55,862) in the quickest time by completing just 17.1 daily trips or covering 92.1 daily miles. You may not be the highest-paid rideshare driver of all time in Tennessee, but you could still earn enough to pay rent and cover other basic living expenses. 

In Hawaii, drivers need to make 43.9 trips per day or 236.8 miles per day to earn a comfortable living wage ($132,912). New ridesharing apps like holoholo are available in Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai, and Lanai, which could be increasing competition among Lyft and Uber drivers.  

California fares slightly better. In this state, drivers need to make 38.1 trips or cover 205.5 miles per day to earn enough for a comfortable living wage ($94,778).

New Yorkers must make 35.31 daily trips or drive 190.69 daily miles to pay the bills in their state ($101,995). 

Rideshare drivers in Florida must make 33.46 daily trips or cover 180.66 miles each day to keep up with their living wage ($65,762). 

Methodology 

To determine the time it takes for rideshare drivers to achieve a comfortable living in each state, we initiated our analysis with the average hourly wage for rideshare drivers in each state. By considering the average number of trips per hour and miles per trip, we calculated the earnings for a trip/mile. We then subtracted the average costs of gas and basic expenses incurred from additional mileage, such as more frequent oil changes and tire rotations. The resulting earnings per trip/mile were compared to the annual income required for a comfortable lifestyle, based on state-specific basic expenses.

We relied on sources such as Numbeo to determine the cost of living by state, as well as the U.S. Census Bureau to ascertain the average salary by state. By comparing the average salary to the cost of living, we determined the relative affordability of each state.

In order to establish the overall ranking, we took into account various factors, including the average rideshare driver’s hourly wage, cost of gas, car insurance expenses, car payments, population density, land area of the state, and online rideshare interest. A comprehensive list of ranking factors and sources can be found below:

SCROLL FOR MORE
FactorSource
Rideshare EarningsZipRecruiter
Cost of GasAAA
Uber/Lyft Search InterestGoogle Trends
Car Insurance RatesCarInsurance.com
Monthly Car PaymentsExperian
Land Area of StateU.S. Census Bureau
Population DensityU.S. Census Bureau

Final Thoughts

Ever wondered if you could become the highest-paid rideshare in your state? Well, certain states like Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Ohio are an absolute paradise for rideshare drivers. However, places with a high cost of living, such as California and Hawaii, may not be as suitable for those seeking to earn a living wage through ridesharing services. We hope this study has provided valuable insights to help you decide if becoming a rideshare driver could help earn you a few extra dollars in your pocket in your state!

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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