As fuel prices rise, gas is rapidly becoming an extremely valuable commodity. And after sharing the five best ways to steal gas last week, we figure it's prudent to do the right thing by providing six of the best ways to protect your gas investment from the shady characters out there wishing to make it their own.
6. Fit A Locking Gas Cap
Instructions: Drive an older vehicle with a gas cap and fuel door that don't lock? Aftermarket replacements that do lock are available from most car part stores. Make sure you select one that's designed for your vehicle; this is crucial for safety, security and emissions. Can't find one? Rivet a hasp and padlock onto the fuel door.
Pros: Cheap, simple and effective at making lazy gas thieves think twice about choosing your vehicle for fuel pilfering.
Cons: Doesn't protect you from a thief who isn't lazy and happens to be handy with a lock pick.
5. Swap Diesel And Gas Badges
Instructions: Drive a gasoline-powered car? Swap out all the exterior clues for diesel badges, and don't forget the sticker inside the fuel door. Some vehicles may require a different colored fuel filler. Own a diesel? Do the opposite.
Pros: Cost efficient. Could permanently disable thief's vehicle, encouraging them to go straight.
Cons: Bad for forgetful people. Lending your car to friends could prove expensive. You lose all the cache the original stickers brought. Getting the goo off can be a bitch when it comes time to sell.
4. Don't Use Gas At All; Buy An Alternative Energy Vehicle
Instructions: Segway, Tesla, bicycle: pick your poison. By choosing a means of transportation that doesn't use gas, not only do you become immune to fuel theft, but rising prices too.
Pros: Not having gas that can be stolen eliminates risk of fuel theft. Hippie chicks will dig you.
Cons: Thieves may just steal your vehicle instead. May lower street cred. Hippies don't shave.
3. Remove Your Gas At Night, Store Inside
Instructions: Simply siphon or drain your fuel into jerry cans every time you park. An empty tank means thieves will have no fuel to steal. Store in a safe — and preferably — well ventilated area.
Pros: Sleep safe in the knowledge that your gas is where it's safest: underneath your mattress.
Cons: Sleep may last a very long time due to fumes. Siphoning or draining each and every night can be time intensive. Thieves attempting to drill an empty tank may encounter an explosive surprise.
2. Booby Trap Your Car
Instructions: Mad Max got a lot of things right: First and foremost is a man's right to protect what's his by any means necessary. Wire dynamite to explode should your vehicle be tampered with, but don't forget to include a secret switch to disarm the explosives. Keeping a machete strapped near the switch can provide a way out should you be forced to disarm the booby trap at gunpoint. A "This vehicle is booby-trapped" sticker may be a good idea.
Pros: Really sticks it to the thieves. Street cred.
Cons: Total vehicle loss is an expensive theft deterrent. Risk of accidental detonation is high. Possible legal and liability concerns.
1. Up-Armor Your Vehicle
Instructions: Gather large amounts of thick metal plate (3/4" should do) and liberally weld it all over your vehicle. Don't forget to cover the underside, and leave slits for vision and/or chainsaws.
Pros: In addition to protecting your gas tank, you'll be protecting yourself from IEDs. Deters tailgaters.
Cons: The extra fuel needed to haul around all the armor plate may negate any savings. Negative impact on resale value.
There you have it. We've showed you how to take someone else's gas and how to protect it once you pour it into your tank. You'll probably be okay as long as you practice the basics: Park in a well-lit area at night. Don't drive around with the fuel door open and gas cap missing. And remember that no system, however ill-conceived, can stop a determined thief.