Gasoline is still one of the cheapest liquids-per-gallon in the U.S., but across the pond the Brits are once again dealing with record petrol prices. This has prompted thieves to take to stealing petrol from parked vehicles.
We’re not quite at $4 a gallon in the U.S., but petroleum prices in the U.K. have shot past $8 a gallon. With a 20 gallon tank, that’s $160 worth of fuel just ripe for the picking. If you’re talking about big trucks with 1,000 liter (about 260 gallons) of fuel, that’s over $2,000 just begging to be stolen. Entire truck fleets can have their fuel tanks empted in a single night, with the thieves pocketing over $20,000 for a few hours of siphoning fuel. What’s more, they’re doing it with relatively simple tools, like a battery-operated minipump and a few drums to store the fuel. The problem is rather prolific too. Two-thirds of the respondents to a Road Haulage Association survey reported fuel theft in the last year.
Another problem has been “red diesel,” a lower tax fuel designed for off-road use in boats and farm machinery as opposed to cars. It has a lower tax rate, and there are organizations removing the red dye and selling it as regular diesel. I’m not positive, but this is probably less-refined fuel, meaning more emissions and less money via the taxes.
Sounds just awful. Glad we’re not there…yet. But if gas prices continue to edge towards $4 a gallon, fuel theft will probably go on the rise in America too. It’s happened before, and parts of California already have gas for over $5 a gallon, so you better get your locking gas caps now.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.