As I parked near the rear of the yard one afternoon earlier this week, I was approached by another short-haul owner-operator friend of mine. She asked me if I had locking fuel caps and I answered back to her, "Of course!". It turns out she did not have locking caps and had just been a recent victim of having 75 gallons of diesel fuel stolen from her truck during a recent night out of the truck. Being that we both park in a large, secure, well-lit yard, it came to me as a shock that this could still happen. As expensive as fuel is these days, this item in our business arsenal needs to be guarded as an extremely precious commodity.
There are several devices out there designed to help aid in the prevention of diesel fuel theft. Many truck drivers use anti-siphon devices that prevent a siphon hose from entering the tank to bring out fuel. These devices are readily available at truck stops and truck supply stores.
Another device I tend to see around is a complete locking cover for your existing fuel caps. This essentially covers the cap by securing itself around the filler neck with a small locking door. Although a little more expensive than some options, it seems to be highly effective in keeping fuel caps protected.
With some of the lengths fuel stealing criminals are going to, it may seem as though they are going to get their hands on your fuel regardless of what preventative measures you have taken. I can attest to one thing though, if you make yourself the easiest target, you also make the easiest victim. These types of criminals often aim to get in and get out quickly, meaning that they don't want to waste time getting through anti-theft measures when the next truck has none. Thieves come in many forms, from people who rig up pickup trucks with specially adapted tanks and pumps, all the way down to the guy who might park next to you in the yard trying to get his hands on a few free gallons. Be aware of who is watching you, since fuel thieves generally like to scope out their hits during daylight hours. Knowing what you have in your tanks when you park will help you know if you have had any fuel stolen when you return from time off. As a rule of thumb, since I park over the weekends, I attempt to deplete my tanks to almost nothing when I finish for the week on Friday afternoon. I try to plan out strategically just how much fuel I will need for those last runs, not only for reasons of preventing theft, but also because sitting fuel in my tanks on Friday is sitting money coming out of my settlement for that week! With diesel fuel being stolen at increasingly alarming rates, be sure to take the necessary steps of prevention so that you are not the next victim of someone trying to cash in on your "liquid gold"!