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nikipedia's avatar

Etiquette question: when should you offer (or ask for) gas money?

Asked by nikipedia (27320 points ) December 29th, 2011

What’s your personal policy on asking for or offering gas money when giving or getting a lift? Do you think that when you agree to give someone a ride, you agree to absorb the cost of gas, regardless of any other factors? Or is there some distance at which it becomes obvious that some gas money should be exchanged? What if it’s a short distance, but traveled frequently? Or does it depend on your own financial position, your relationship with the ride sharer, or something else?

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15 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

For me, it’s only if it’s a long distance trip. I don’t generally ask for gas money if I’m just giving a friend or family member a ride somewhere.

BUT I guess if I were driving someone around frequently, and they didn’t have a car with which to return the favor, I might try to work something out.

Judi's avatar

We got rid of our Suburban (we had one when the kids were teens) because all our friends expected us to drive and no one offered to help with gas. The only person who ever offered was a friend who also had a Suburban.
I think you should always offer if you’re going more than 20 or 30 miles.
I am not sure of the etiquette of asking though.

nikipedia's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate, what do you think counts as long distance? Are we talking 15–20 minutes, or only roadtrip length?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I guess it’s whatever the driver considers to be a long distance. I’ve never asked for gas money unless I was really going out of my way to drive someone. We drive family members and friends in our Suburban quite a bit, but those same friends and family members have driven us places in the past or done us other favors that have balanced things out.

I think the first time I asked for a small amount of gas money was when I drove a friend to his military base. It was a four hour round-trip.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I think it also depends on the relationship you have with the rider. I don’t feel uncomfortable asking someone to help a bit with the gas if I know they can and we’re taking my car for convenience, usually if the cumulative drive is a couple of hours, or say 100 miles round trip. If they are very frequent riders, again, it depends. If I would be driving every time anyway and I have no problem absorbing the cost, I don’t ask, but I do expect reciprocity in some form at some time, a favor done, a lunch treated, or something.
As for wording I just say “Can you help a bit with the cost of gas?”

bongo's avatar

I rarely ask for petrol money other than on long journeys, I wait until they offer it to me. I find it a sort of test of politeness for that person. However I am a very poor student and so find petrol too expensive to use my car very much so if someone is asking me for lifts regularly I either say I have no petrol in which case they will offer or they choose to walk. My housemate has never paid me a penny in petrol money but asks me for lifts all the time. He has now run out of his free lifts as I was finding that I was ferrying him around places more than I was using my car for myself. uncool.

marinelife's avatar

It depends on my relationship with the rider for sure.

If it was a family member or a close friend, I would not offer unless I could cover the gas. if I couldn’t, I would say, “I’d love to take you, but I’m short on gas this week.”

If an acquaintance asked for a ride and I didn’t mind, i would say, “Well, i can take you if you’ll chip in for gas.”

I don’t usually offer acquaintances rides.

Coloma's avatar

I’m not a score keeper in my relationships, but, the balance is important in the big picture.
I just pay attention to the big picture.
Close friends I would not ask for any compensation, usually we work things out where one or the other of us drives and the other person buys lunch as a gesture of appriciation.
I have an ex friend that was constantly wanting a ride or “inviting” me to do something and conveniently NOT telling me she did not have her car that day.

Once I became aware of her sneaky maneuvers and false “invitations” I started thwarting her manipulative behaviors. haha
It was hilarious..I could always tell when she was in her scheming mode, she’d call and be all coy, ask ” Sooooo, what are you doing today?” as an intro to feel me out.
It was one of those games where if I said XYZ she would try to insert herself in my plans, she’d jump in with ” Oooh, I was thinking of going there today too! ” hoping I’d invite her along, which always meant picking her up.
If I said I didn’t know, she’d then “suggest” “we” do something together, under the guise of having “fun”, when, in reality she was bored and stuck at home and just wanted to use me to get out of the house.

My point is, that, eventually, I DID start asking for gas money for all of her ” special” favors, and that did slow her down some, but, was not fully effective. Ultimately I dumped her. lol

I’d say that some sort of offering for compensation is just good manners, especially if it’s a regular thing and one person finds themselves driving more.

Every situation needs to be evaluated on an individual basis IMO.

El_Cadejo's avatar

As per asking for gas money there are a couple factors. How poor am I currently. How far out of my way am I going for this person and how far is the total drive.

I try to consider the same when offering gas money.

If me and my friends are going on any kind of road trip that is like 2+ hours gas money is split evenly amongst the riders in the car.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate What happened to your cat’s face??

Depends….on what every one else said. Also, there is the commuting consideration.

YARNLADY's avatar

Always offer gas money. If anyone asks you for a ride, always mention you could use gas money. If you offer to give someone a ride, do not ask for gas money.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think I have ever asked for gas money. If I was giving someone a lift on a regular basis I would though.

For me, I would offer gas money if I have asked the person for a lift, or if they are giving me a lift on a regular basis, or if we are going to the same place, say a conference/meeting, and they kindly offer to take me there to save me driving or getting public transport.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve never actually asked anyone for gas money but I’ve offered it when I’ve car pooled with someone.

I’m thinking about asking my healthy 16 year old for gas money as he is constantly asking us to drive him and his buddies here and there and he is showing no sign of even trying to get his driver’s license.

wundayatta's avatar

It depends on many things. Are you going out of your way for the person? Then they should offer to pay for gas. Are they making money out of the trip in some way? Then they should offer to pay for gas.

If you are going to this place anyway and are not going out of your way, I don’t think they have any obligation, although if it’s a trip of more than half an hour, they should reciprocate in some way. If it is a repeated trip, they should also offer to reciprocate—either by driving sometimes or by offering money for gas, or by taking you out for a meal or something.

If they don’t offer to reciprocate when you are doing the same trip anyway, then it’s not a big deal and you should just forget about it. Under no circumstances do you ask for gas money, when you would be going there anyway.

If you are going out of your way for them, they should offer. If they don’t, then you shouldn’t offer the favor more than three or four times. If money is a problem for you, then you shouldn’t do it more than once. The next time you could mention that you really can’t afford to keep the car gassed up for trips like this. If they really want the ride, they’ll offer to help. If money is not a problem, then it shouldn’t be an issue. The issue is the time you take to go out of your way. Again, be honest about that and just let them know you can’t take the time right now.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Never ask for gas money if you are offering to drive someone somewhere. That’s just rude. I’m not saying you do this.

It is nice to offer to pay for gas if someone offers you a ride, especially a long one. It is also nice to offer to pay for gas if someone drives you places regularly.

If someone knows you have a vehicle and seeks you out regularly in the hopes of getting a ride, it is totally fine for you to say “Do I look like a free taxi service to you? I don’t appreciate being used or taken advantage of. Gas isn’t cheap. If you want me to drive you around regularly, I’d appreciate you pitching in and helping me pay for gas.”

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