October 15, 2018

5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Fuel Theft

fuel theft

The cost of fuel theft

With oil prices on the rise, the price of the fuel climbs right alongside it. And that makes it an increasingly lucrative target for thieves. While industry veterans are used to some fuel shrinkage (including theft), the increasing price of oil makes fuel theft a serious concern. It could be professional criminals targeting your fleet, dishonest employees or simply shameless opportunists, but whoever the culprit, it’s hurting your bottom line.

The thriving fuel black market

Criminals are like weeds — they’ll spring up anywhere they see an opportunity. And this includes the black market, where there’s a huge demand for diesel and gasoline. Using fraudulent or stolen fuel and credit cards, criminals can make huge profits reselling pilfered gas or diesel to unscrupulous fleet owners, truckers or gas stations. Or if they’re even more brazen, they might siphon it directly off your reservoir.

Because fuel theft isn’t punished as harshly as some other crimes, it’s considered less-risky by many criminals, who can make more than $1,000 a day. But it’s not just criminals.

Employees steal fuel too

It could be an employee who feels under-valued or under-compensated. Or maybe it’s just unethical workers. Whatever the reason, many companies have issues with workers filling their personal vehicles with company fuel. Unfortunately, unless you catch them red-handed, this is often difficult to prove. That’s bad news for you.

Reduce your risk

As much as 10% of all fuel in the construction industry could be lost to theft. But it’s not always easy to identify it, much less stop it. But you can take some steps to cut down on your risk.

1. Make it difficult for thieves

Fleet yards are a popular target for fuel thieves, so make it as difficult as possible for them to get in and stay unnoticed. Fences, lighting and obvious security cameras increase visibility and record the theft, making your lot less attractive to thieves. Review your current lot security and monitoring to identify weaknesses that could be exploited.

2. Track fuel usage

Keep an eye out for thieves on the inside by tracking fuel usage with a platform like EquipmentShare Track. You can easily spot vehicles that are burning too much fuel, determine if it’s theft or a mechanical issue, and identify the operator.

3. Outfit your fleet with anti-siphoning devices

While professional thieves have been known to drill directly into gas tanks with little to no regard for safety, anti-siphoning devices are a strong deterrent to the opportunist type of criminal.

4. Tag your fuel

A new and innovative solution that most fleet owners are unaware of, UK-based company Datatag has developed a way to tag fuel. They haven’t disclosed their methods, but a roadside test can quickly determine where fuel came from.

5. Park defensively

Probably the simplest way to protect your tank and fleet, parking defensively is also very effective. Use vehicles to block access to tanks, making fuel theft as difficult as possible.

It’s not easy to eliminate fuel theft, but by taking some precautions, you can not only make your fleet an unattractive target for thieves. And using a powerful reporting tool like Track makes it easy to identify theft in the first place, so you can put a stop to it.

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