The 10 best cities for rideshare drivers in 2023

St Louis tops our list of the best U.S. cities for your mobile side hustle

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

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  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Ross Martin

Manager, Content Quality

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  • Licensed Insurance Agent (former) — Property and Casualty

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. As a licensed insurance agent, he specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers…

There are over 1.7 million rideshare drivers throughout the United States, with Americans taking 14 million trips per day — and that's just using Uber. Turning your car into a money-making machine can be a lucrative side hustle, whether as a rideshare driver or grocery and takeout delivery driver[1]

But some places are better suited for vehicle business success than others. We looked at the 50 most populous U.S. cities to find the best environment for rideshare drivers. We analyzed four areas:

  • Car insurance increase for rideshare drivers: The Zebra tracks insurance policy costs when adding rideshare driver protection. 
  • Average gas price by state: AAA tracks gas prices. These are as of mid-March 2023 when the national average gas price per gallon was $3.466[2].
  • Average annual earnings for gig delivery workers: AdvisorSmith gathered earnings for gig delivery drivers[3].  
  • Cost of living index by city: A cost of living index compares the average expenses across different geographic areas. The Numbeo cost of living index uses New York City as a baseline (100). An index number below that is less expensive than New York[4]

 

So where are the best cities to become a rideshare driver? Check out our results below.


#1: St. Louis, Missouri

Missouri is home to one of the lowest gas prices in the country, which helps maintain better profit margins for rideshare and gig delivery drivers. On top of that, the average St. Louis driver earns over $16,000 a year, making it a healthy side hustle. That cash goes further in St. Louis, with the sixth lowest cost of living among the cities we analyzed.

St. Louis by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: Data not available 
  • Average gas price by state: $3.046
  • Average annual earnings: $16,528
  • Cost of living index: 67.4

#2: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio rideshare drivers won't suffer a huge increase in car insurance. The add-on coverage only raises the annual premium by an average of $74. Texas also has lower gas prices compared to most other states and the cost of living in San Antonio ranks the seventh lowest on our list.

San Antonio by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: $74
  • Average gas price by state $3.083
  • Average annual earnings: Data not available
  • Cost of living index: 67.8

#3: Houston, Texas (tied)

Houston gig drivers can expect to pay a bit more in car insurance, with the average rideshare policy causing a $84 increase each year. Average earnings for this side hustle exceed $18,000 which can go far with a cost of living index of under 70 (remember that the baseline is 100, representing the cost of living in New York City).

Houston by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: $84
  • Average gas price by state: $3.083
  • Average annual earnings: $18,627
  • Cost of living index: 69.8

#3: Kansas City, Missouri (tied)

Low gas and relatively stable car insurance prices make Kansas City another top spot for rideshare and delivery drivers. The cost of living is slightly higher than our other top three cities, slightly exceeding an index score of 70.

Kansas City by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: $80
  • Average gas price by state: $3.046
  • Average annual earnings: Data not available
  • Cost of living index: 70.1

#5: Richmond, Virginia

Gig drivers in Richmond earn over $17,000 per year on average. This can help offset higher gas prices in Virginia, which average $3.25 in March 2023. Richmond ranks well in terms of the cost of living index, which is just over 66.

Richmond by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: Data not available
  • Average gas price by state: $3.253
  • Average annual earnings: $17,139
  • Cost of living index: 66.6

#6: Memphis, Tennessee (tied)

Car insurance costs a little more for rideshare drivers in Memphis, with the average policy jumping $132. Gas costs just over $3.15 per gallon, which is still in the top 10 states we reviewed. Plus, rideshare earnings are high in Memphis, averaging more than $20,000 per year.

Memphis by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: $132
  • Average gas price by state: $3.155
  • Average annual earnings: $20,596
  • Cost of living index: 64.3

#6: Austin, Texas (tied)

Austin drivers only have to pay an extra $69 per year for rideshare coverage. And with low gas prices in Texas, it's easy to minimize work-related expenses. The downside, however, is that the cost of living is higher in Austin than other cities on our list, coming in with a 74.6 index score.

Austin by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: $69
  • Average gas price by state: $3.083
  • Average annual earnings: Data not available
  • Cost of living index: 74.6

#8: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma has some of the cheapest gas prices in the country. Oklahoma City rideshare drivers, however, will pay an extra $116 each year for the appropriate car insurance. And the city's cost of living index sits at 72.8.

Oklahoma City by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: $116
  • Average gas price by state $3.038
  • Average annual earnings: Data not available
  • Cost of living index: 72.8

#9: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham also has a higher cost of living index score hovering just under a 76. However, rideshare and gig delivery driver earnings exceed $18,000 per year on average and the average price per gallon is about $3.12 in Alabama.

Birmingham by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: Data not available
  • Average gas price by state: $3.122
  • Average annual earnings: $18,586
  • Cost of living index: 75.7

#10: Orlando, Florida

Orlando's cost of living is in the middle of the cities on our list, coming in with a score just over 72. Drivers earn more than $18,000 on average each year. However, gas prices in Florida are about average compared to the rest of the country at $3.31 per gallon.

Orlando by the numbers

  • Car insurance increase: Data not available
  • Average gas price by state: $3.311
  • Average annual earnings: $18,345
  • Cost of living index: 72.1

Methodology

The Zebra pulled four data points to analyze the top 50 MSAs (by population) in the U.S. related to rideshare drivers:

 

MSA data was used where applicable, and we sometimes substituted city or state data as necessary.