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What is Fuel Theft, and How can it be Prevented?

Posted by Wilmar, Inc.

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It is estimated that losses due to fuel theft are in the region of $133 billion globally. This takes into account adulterated, stolen, or defrauded fuel. 

Fuel theft can be defined as the act of illegally siphoning or taking fuel from the fuel tanks. Criminals use varied techniques to achieve this goal, including puncturing the tanks.

While the thieves can benefit hugely from this illegal activity, businesses that own fleets of vehicles suffer massive losses. It's therefore prudent that measures are put in place to curb this vice.

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Why Fuel Theft is Common

Fuel theft is primarily common these days since thieves find it easy to use and also sell the stolen fuel. Besides, it is also a frequent target since it is easy to siphon fuel from cars and trucks.

Standard mechanisms that are used to prevent this vice, such as the use of fuel caps, are also not 'very much' effective since a thief can still puncture the tank, steal fuel, and leave your car with even more extensive damage. Considering the cost of potential damages and subsequent losses, companies must put up robust measures to prevent this practice. 

Here are a few practical recommendations to stop fuel theft.

  • Fitting Vehicles and trucks with Powerful Fuel Monitoring or the Anti-siphoning Devices

There are robust fuel monitoring and anti-siphoning smart devices that you can use to limit or stop malicious access to your fuel tanks. A fuel monitoring device, for example, would help you track all the current levels of fuel in your fleets.

It would also give you timely updates on the fuel amounts getting into your tanks. You can use these pieces of information to estimate your vehicle's fuel consumption and set specific benchmarks to ensure efficiency.

Either way, you can also install fuel anti-theft or anti-siphoning devices on the fuel caps to bar potential thieves from stealing the fuel. These devices work by giving the owner or driver real-time alerts when someone tries to tamper with the car.

  • Install CCTV Cameras

Apart from other robust vehicle security and GPS devices that you can install in your fleets to ensure security and boost efficiency, it would also be better to install security cameras in the vehicles.

Ideally, you may opt for security devices that are made with high-quality video recording capability. It would not only help you get video pieces of evidence of incidents, for example, fuel theft but also handle car insurance problems that you may get into, for example, during accidents.

If you manage a large fleet, you can opt for devices with live-recording and video streaming capabilities to monitor all events in real time.

  • Staff Training

For fleet managers, it is also recommendable that you invest time in staff training to enlighten them on the potential threats of fuel theft and how this vice could negatively impact the fleet's profitability. During these sessions, you may give them actionable tips on how to detect potential threats in different surroundings.

Besides, you may also enlighten them on measures and policies that the company has put in place to stop this problem. These policies should touch on what the drivers can do in their capacity to prevent fuel theft.

Some actionable recommendations include always ensuring that security devices, for example, fuel cap alarms are operational, adopting defensive parking approaches, and always parking in safe and well-lit yards or locations.

For the defensive parking approaches, the drivers can always block or minimize access to the fuel tank by parking closer to other vehicles. They can also park with the fuel tanks directly facing the road to use the traffic to deter thieves from stealing fuel.

Over to You

While fuel theft is a global problem, there's always something you can do to stop or minimize the potential risks.

When still researching on the best vehicle that will suit your fleet, ensure that your yards are also well-lit and advise your drivers to fuel only before departure instead of leaving the vehicles fuelled overnight.

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Topics: Fleet Safety, Fleet Management, Misc

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