We have all been in that awkward situation: you drive your friend somewhere as a favor (usually all the way to the airport or you take a road trip together), and they hop out of your car and leave immediately. And you are stuck there alone and wondering how you are going to fill your tank back up and why you keep letting yourself getting taken advantage of. After all, you are not the one who needed a FL driver’s license check before you went on vacation.
Even if you give yourself a pep talk/reminder before you give your friends a ride, it is easy to forget to ask for your compensation, and can even be awkward. If you are a considerate, normal human being, whether you are the passenger or driver, gas money is usually on your mind. Remove all possibility of doubt or awkwardness by following these few simple guidelines (and get your gas money!).
Don’t Be Awkward
You have to start by reminding yourself that the situation should not be awkward for you because you are offering transportation to someone, and if they were to take the bus or a taxi, they would have to pay fare. As long as you have established that this is not just a favor, but that you require some sort of compensation, there should be less awkward feelings all around.
When you are asked to give a ride, whether it is a one-time trip or a reoccurring situation (like carpooling to a defensive driving class or dropping them off at work), you need to set boundaries from the get-go. Establishing right off the bat that you require some amount of gas money will clear up any potential misunderstandings in the future.
If you are already in the middle of a driving routine with someone (or you have been too scared to ask them to cough up their fair share), there are a few ways of going about getting your deserved gas money. You could always leave a tip jar in the cup holder, and jingle it when you get close to their destination; but if you are looking for something a little less passive aggressive, you could always simply talk to them. Explain how you are feeling in the situation. You could say that you are devoting time as well as money (for gas along with regular upkeep for your vehicle) to drive your friend around. And while it is always more fun to have someone in the car, you can’t be the only one taking care of it (because if they want to keep getting driven around they should want to keep the car in working condition as well).
Bring it UP
Bringing up the question of gas money will always prove the type of person your passenger is as well. Most people will happily oblige you and thank you profusely for giving them a ride. If your passenger reacts in an outburst or gets angry with you for asking them to pay their way, you know you will never get your fair share of gas money (and should probably stop offering/giving them rides).
Head up High!
If you are feeling a bit uneasy about asking your friends and passengers for gas money, remember to stay direct and explain your side of the story. Keeping your head level and making sure you get what you deserve is always important. Standing up for yourself with gas money can open many other doors in your life. Make sure that you are not getting taken advantage of, and true friends will always throw you some cash (or maybe even buy you lunch!) as repayment for a ride.