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An Uber driver says she more than doubled her monthly tips to $2,600 after swapping her Toyota Camry for a Tesla Model 3

California, where Barnes drives has seen some of the highest increases, with gasoline costing as much as $6.2 a gallon.

San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Contributor

  • An Uber driver who swapped a Toyota Camry for a luxury Tesla said she’s doubled her tips as a result. 
  • Heidi Barnes told Bloomberg that customers were “a lot more generous” now she’s in a Model 3.
  • “Usually I’m lucky to get $1 to $3 tips but it’s now $10 or $15, sometimes consecutively,” she said. 

An Uber driver who swapped her Toyota Camry for a luxury Tesla Model 3 because it is cheaper to lease an electric vehicle than pay for gas said that she’s more than doubled her tips as a result. 

“Usually I’m lucky to get $1 to $3 tips but it’s now $10 or $15, sometimes consecutively,” Heidi Barnes, 34, told Bloomberg. 

Barnes said told Bloomberg she made $2,600 in tips during a 25-day period while leasing the Tesla. She usually made around $800 to $1,000 over the same period in her Camry, she said.

“They’re a lot more generous,” Barnes said. 

Barnes, who drives mostly around Los Angeles, is one of nearly 15,000 Uber drivers to have leased a Tesla since the company signed a deal with the car rental firm Hertz in October 2021, per Bloomberg. Uber also offers drivers a $1 per ride zero emissions incentive if they opt for an electric car.

The Tesla promotion has coincided with a time when gas prices have reached record levels, fueled by a combination of the war in Ukraine, lower production in the US, and supply chain challenges.

In June, a gallon of gasoline cost more than $5 on average across the US. It has since fallen to around $4.80, but is far above the $3.10 average at same time last year, per the American Automobile Association.

California, where Barnes drives has seen some of the highest increases, with a gasoline costing as much as $6.20 a gallon. 

Barnes told Bloomberg she thought about upgrading her Toyota Camry, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Beast,’ last summer, but finally made the swap after the cost of filling the tank increased from around $60 to $100. 

It costs her around $450 a month to run the Tesla, which she leases for $344 including insurance maintenance and unlimited miles, compared to around $600 it cost to run the Toyota, per Bloomberg. 

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