Police in the western United States are warning drivers of a rash of fuel thefts taken directly from cars as gas prices continue to rise to new heights. To add injury to insult, some thieves are drilling directly into fuel tanks rather than siphoning gas the old fashioned way.
Police in Everett, Washington and Hoquiam, Washington in particular are warning their citizens about fuel thefts, but the problem is spreading countrywide, CNN reports. A rural gas station in Michigan that once allowed pump-then-pay gas is changing its process after drive-offs increased dramatically over the last week.
But it’s not just siphoning and drive-offs. Everett police warned drivers of drill-style thefts. Police in Atlanta and even in British Columbia, Canada have caught thieves doing the same thing. Not only is it incredibly dangerous to drive a car with a damaged fuel tank, it is very costly to repair. Considering repairpal.com puts the cost of replacing a gas tank at between $1,200 and $1,400, this style of fuel theft can reliably be called a compete dick move.
So how can you protect your car from gas theft? Here are a few recommendations from police:
- Park in well lit areas with the gas cap side visible from where you are or a main road.
- Limit parking in public places
- Park inside a garage
- Purchase a locking fuel cap
- Carpool to avoid exposing your own car to theft.
Of course, much of this advice doesn’t really help if you don’t have a garage to park in, or if the thieves have a power drill. Some pointed out on a post by police in Renton, Washington, that they’d rather have gas stolen via an open gas cap than have their fuel tank damaged. It reminds me of the old advice to leave your cars unlocked in Detroit so you don’t end up with a busted window. Police in Renton admitted there isn’t a ton you can do to protect your dearly bought gas from the most motivated of thieves.
Just like record gas prices, gas theft is something that won’t be going away any time soon, especially as workers are pushed to return to offices and leave their cars unattended in public areas for 8 hours or more a day. It just doesn’t get any easier, does it?