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Possible solutions to vehicle based fuel theft

By Jonathon Reynolds - 23 May 2008 36

Back on the 13th May 2008, the Canberra Times ran an article about the fuel theft that has started to occur as a result of number-plates being stolen from cars. Obviously a number plate can be removed from a car even if you use tamper proof screws (if you are determined enough you would just jemmy the plate off with a screwdriver, and if you are out to commit a crime you aren’t going to worry about a slightly bent plate or damage to the car you stole the plate from). The article also mentioned that not many services stations had number plate recognition video software, besides that doesn’t stop drive-offs in the first place anyway. With the skyrocketing price of fuel, it looks like service station retailers will need to become more and more cautious and proactive to limit their losses with fuel theft. For example I know that the Independent Caltex Retailer in Kaleen has required consumers to pre-pay for fuel before you fill up after 9 pm at night for a while now. I’m not sure that any ACT retailers are requiring pre-payment during the day but it is becoming a more common practice interstate. Perhaps we will end up going the way they have in the UK. Service stations are taking more drastic steps to protect themselves with systems such as “Drivestop”. An interesting PDF describing the system. Their website is http://drivestop.com  (unfortunately you need to register to get to their demo video)

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Possible solutions to vehicle based fuel theft
16
Timberwolf65 9:14 am
24 May 08
#

Im really starting to get the shits with the price of fuel, it’s costing me $20,00 dollars more per week to fill up and it’s only going to keep going up.

I never buy anything more than fuel from servo’s, it’s just a complete rip off otherwise.

Fuel is a complete rip off, soon we will all be driving round in the days of mad max!!!

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17
jenny green 9:51 am
24 May 08
#

A year ago pre-pay seemed pretty standard in NZ. You go into the shop and pay before they turn the bowser on. Makes no difference paying before or after to me!

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18
Adza 11:39 am
24 May 08
#

It gets harder when you don’t know how much it’s going to be… or if you have to pay after via fuel card.

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19
ant 11:52 am
24 May 08
#

I wonder if companies and gov’t that offer senior people the perk of vehicles have factored into their budgets the effect of rising fuel costs? Might be some budget blowouts happening. One thing’s for sure, if they had to pay for their own petrol, many of these characters would be opting for smaller vehicles.

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20
RuffnReady 12:01 pm
24 May 08
#

Timberwolf65 said :

Im really starting to get the shits with the price of fuel, it’s costing me $20,00 dollars more per week to fill up and it’s only going to keep going up.

I never buy anything more than fuel from servo’s, it’s just a complete rip off otherwise.

Fuel is a complete rip off, soon we will all be driving round in the days of mad max!!!

Well, duh. Fossil fuels don’t grow on trees. We use 85,000,000 barells of the stuff a DAY. The world has roughly 40 years of oil left in the ground.

Rather than complaining about the price of petrol as if it is a god-given right to use as much of it as you please, try modifying your behaviour and using less.

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21
Spideydog 1:50 pm
24 May 08
#

vg said :

In the US, at least when I was last there, it was standard practice to pay for your petrol before you filled. Guess what….no drive offs.

Service stations have been told this time and time again. They don’t want to do it because they say it will remove the walk in shop custom they get from people who buy the overpriced Coke or snacks. I say until they take actual steps towards preventing the theft (which means pre-payment) they should be ignored. They don’t want to do anything to help themselves

Hit the nail on the head.

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22
Snarky 9:26 pm
24 May 08
#

An anecdote on fuel and margins for retailers.

In my area there was a servo owned by one of the large fuel companies with a service garage attached. The company wanted out, so they sold the property to the proprietor who was leasing it from them, and in the process they removed the fuel storage tanks (a legal thing, apparently).

I asked the new owner when he was going to reinstall new ones and he said he had no intention to – the margin he was making per litre was so low that it only took one big drive-away theft to completely negate the profit from fuel for the day, and he was suffering from a couple a week at that stage. He’s kept the garage instead as it’s far more profitable.

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23
VicePope 9:29 pm
24 May 08
#

I have pretty well lost count of the number of cars I have seen in recent weeks with either no numberplate or a numberplate that was obviously obscured. Nicking petrol from servos might be some of the cause, but my gut feeling is that it’s more about speed and red light cameras. I’d love to see the coppers taking an interest.

Since petrol prices started going stupid, I have taken to carrying an extra bit of money around to top up whenever there’s a good price. So far, it’s worked – Tuesdays are usually best. The supermarket backed servos in the burbs are probably the best deal if you have a docket.

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24
123qwe 9:31 pm
24 May 08
#

What odds for $2.00 a litre by the start of 2009?

The crude oil price generally has a dramatic increase during the northern hemisphere winter, so fuel is probably quite cheap at this time of year.

Does anyone want to buy my V6 4WD? I’ll through in a tank of fuel (about $100.00 worth).

I think by 2009 I will have quadraceps of steel and be a hell of a lot fitter!

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25
el 9:42 pm
24 May 08
#

Snarky – not the bloke in Fisher by any chance?

$95 to fill up today….starting to get nasty at a tank per week.

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26
ant 10:06 pm
24 May 08
#

Vicepope said:

VicePope said :

I have pretty well lost count of the number of cars I have seen in recent weeks with either no numberplate or a numberplate that was obviously obscured. Nicking petrol from servos might be some of the cause, but my gut feeling is that it’s more about speed and red light cameras. I’d love to see the coppers taking an interest.

I hate to say anything positive about our useless police, but last week there was a Cortina-y thing on the middle of Belconnen Way, with a young yobbish-looking man stamping around it, and a cop car with lights going parked behind it, and the Cortina-y thing lacking a rear numberplate.

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27
Dave F 12:20 am
25 May 08
#

Anyone know where to buy the tamper proof number plate screws?

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28
Felix the Cat 6:20 am
25 May 08
#

ant said :

Yesterday in Fyshwick, the Shell just up from Harvey Normans was charging 159.9, while the Mobil a block along near Canberra Ave was charging 147!

I quite often go past those servos and have noticed the same thing! Yet in other areas like Braddon or Gungahlin TC where there are two or more servos close by the prices are nearly always identical.

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29
Spideydog 11:47 am
25 May 08
#

Dave F said :

Anyone know where to buy the tamper proof number plate screws?

Bunnings, I thought

Or contact ACT Policing Crime Prevention section and they will tell you.

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30
el 1:03 pm
25 May 08
#

The mention of tamper proof screws has me wondering: How ‘tamper proof’ are these fasteners, anyway? What if you need to remove the plate when moving interstate?

Sounds like sometime Loc-tite (or even superglue) could handle reasonably easily – Given that on most cars the screw/bolt is met on the other side with a simple hex nut.

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