How To Prevent Fuel Theft

Justin Christensen |

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Fuel theft is an international business. A recent article in the Jakarta Globe revealed losses in East Timor, Indonesia reaching $25 billion due to smuggling from gas stations. Construction sites, farms, fleets, and semi trucks are also common targets.

Any incident of fuel theft is not good for your business and it can get expensive, especially when market prices are high. Here are some ways you can help to minimize occurrences.


  • Tank locks – Available in a variety of styles such as Spinsecure Cap and Short or Long Alarm Padlocks, they are a low-cost solution and easy to install.
  • EyeCap® – This anti-siphoning tool sends alerts to attempts at tampering and records details in real time. Tracking date, time, location and duration with connection to an alarm, the system can tell if the driver should have been present at the time.
  • TankShield® – Using two points of attachment and a “puck style” lock, the system protects the pump, the fill port and your tank. It’s easy to install and can be customized to fit any tank.
  • GPS/fuel tracker combo – Lets you know where and how much fuel was refilled which is helpful for monitoring employee use.
  • Anti-Siphon Tank Inserts – Are designed to prevent hoses from accessing the fuel and available in different styles. Check to be sure the quality is reliable and that you have the right fit for your tank.
  • Alternative fuels – Some companies are considering switching to fuels less expensive than diesel or vehicles that utilize natural gas.
  • Video surveillance and intercom systems – Tracks activity at retail locations and lets customers know you’re watching when you communicate with them from inside.


  • Defensive Parking – Try to find lots that are secure, well lit and well populated. If you own fleets, park your vehicles in a way that makes tanks inaccessible or easily viewed from the street.
  • Count Fuel as Inventory – Record fuel purchases and cross check vehicle and fuel usage records to ensure they match up. Have driver’s check fuel gauges in the morning, especially if they’ve filled up the night before.
  • Sufficient Lighting – Security lighting will allow for good visuals of your property and pumps, especially by neighbors or police.
  • Secure Fencing – A solid boundary fence as well as additional fencing around pumps will be a good deterrent if there’s difficulty in accessing.
  • Signs of Security – Post signs to let would-be thieves know they are being monitored along with signs if you offer rewards for information about thefts.
  • Payment Options – Offer pre-payment or pay at the pump.
  • Clerk Awareness – Position your cash clerk with a good view of the pumping stations and try to note plate numbers prior to initiating the pumps.

Implementing your distributor’s fuel card program is also a great way to minimize fuel theft. As part of their fleet management services, cards can be issued based on driver and vehicle and programmed with a variety of features. Restrictions on product grade, quantity and spending are just some of the ways to help reduce abuse.

Taking steps to protect your investments may involve additional costs to start. However, the benefits of saving your property and your money will be sure to add up over the long term. Target theft before it targets you.