Fuel Theft On the Rise As Prices Soar

Fuel prices has skyrocketed to a 14-year high as major producers play catch up to meet post-pandemic demand and the Russian-Ukraine war has created a situation conducive for artificial price hikes. Reports of brazen theft have been emerging as the liquid black gold has become increasingly expensive and even unaffordable for many.

A station in Colorado in the US claims to have had around 2,000 gallons of gasoline (that’s petrol to us) and 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel stolen. According to the store manager, the thieves were caught on video pumping the fuel into tanks on the back of a truck. She believes that they were using a remote control that hacked into the station’s system to allow them to pump the fuel without paying. The total theft amounted to around US$50,000.

In 2018, the cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab found that over 1,000 petrol pumps were vulnerable to hacking from anywhere in the world; the embedded controller could be easily accessed to stop the pump, change prices and, of course, bypass payment.

Another station in Houston also alleged that they had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel stolen but through a less sophisticated modus operandi. The suspects had parked their vehicle over the station’s underground storage tanks and directly siphoned fuel out of the tanks with a hose.

Meanwhile, commercial and private vehicles are having fuel stolen from their tanks. In the past, it was much easier to siphon petrol out of the vehicle’s fuel tank but not so with modern vehicles that have a rollover valve to prevent fuel from leaking out if it turns turtle. But that won’t stop a thief, especially one armed with a drill. They simply drill holes into the tanks, often causing thousands of dollars in damages to the vehicle to steal just a few litres of petrol.

Authorities, where fuel thefts are starting to cause alarm, are warning vehicle owners to be vigilant and park in well-lit or in private parking areas.

  • Afham
    March 23, 2022 - 9:43 am


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  • Ling
    March 23, 2022 - 10:40 am


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