When the Rogue Desk ordered last week from Pizza Hut, it learned that the company's franchises have roguishly slashed reimbursements to delivery drivers for gasoline and maintenance expenses.

This at the same time that gasoline prices are soaring.

On June 9, local drivers say managers told them that reimbursement for their costs would drop from $1.50 per delivery (the rate fluctuated with gas prices) to $1.05 to $1.10 for the first delivery on a run, 74 to 82 cents for the second, and 53 to 63 cents for the third. (Rates vary by location.)

In other words, a three-delivery run that once meant $4.50 in reimbursement now brings as little as $2.32.

Minimum-wage-earning full-time drivers expect to lose about $250 a month because of the reduction, says one of those drivers—Brittany Caswell, 20, of the Pizza Hut on Southwest Barbur Boulevard.

Drivers say managers told them their reimbursements were cut because the $1.50-per-delivery rate exceeded the reimbursement rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. Thus, the company needed to have drivers declare their reimbursements as taxable income or cut them. To drivers' dismay, the company chose the latter.

Dallas-based Pizza Hut didn't return messages about the change. When WW called Pizza Hut area manager Stacey Bush, she responded by yelling: "You've been misinformed! This is baloney!" However, when asked if driver reimbursement had in fact changed, she declined to comment.

Four drivers from three Portland Pizza Hut stores, meanwhile, dished to the Rogue Desk.

Deliveryman Tylor Doherty, 27, of the Pizza Hut on Southeast Powell Boulevard says the previous rate of $1.50 per delivery was just enough to cover gas and car maintenance.

Now, he says, the new system "barely covers gas," which means drivers must dip into their own pockets to cover maintenance services for their vehicles.

Too bad their vehicles don't run on pepperoni.