Paul Quinn’s Weblog

News from Ole Miss and Oxford

Gas stealing on the rise, get a lockable cap

Posted by paulquinn on June 29, 2008

gas stealingOnly a few people out there are profiting from the high oil prices; those in the oil business and people stealing gas.

A friend from Houston, Texas said he left his car in the driveway with 25 gallons left in the tank, upon returning it was all gone. He went to Autozone to buy a lockable cap, but they were sold out.

A Google news search of gas stealing brings about 1,288 stories on gas siphoning.

Here is a report about farmers getting taken for hundreds of gallons.  The story also notes how people are buying gas caps due to the threat of losing 100’s of dollars worth of gasoline.

In Kentucky one man was charged with stealing 10,000 gallons worth. At $3.80 a gallon he stole $38,000 worth of gas. 

Some innovative thieves have even rigged a van for the purpose of siphoning gas. Very clever, but also quite telling. When people go to extremes to steal, bigger problems will follow.

I am sure the gas is for personal use, but is there a black market for gasoline? Will drug dealers and the MOB start bartering gas for illegal commodities?

The Wall Street Journal reports lower fuel costs in Mexico have created illegal activity on the border. The victims are the Mexican motorist. Gas is only $2.50 per/gal south of the border, and Americans are going in hordes for the cheaper fill-up. Now Mexican border towns are seeing less gas available for themselves. Wow the Mexican government is doing much better than the U.S., aren’t we supposed to be the developed nation and Mexico the developing one? Maybe we should learn something from a neighbors.

The WSJ reports the illegal activity occurs when people try and take more gas than they are allowed.

All of this is a boon for James Blue’s auto shop, located in a strip mall in the arid hills east of downtown San Diego. His business, Express Performance Center, installs extra-large fuel tanks in pickups and other work vehicles used for runs to fill up with cheap gas in Mexico.

The story explains later why this isn’t legal when the purpose is heading to Mexico with your newly added tank.

Crossing the border with fuel in a container that isn’t attached to a vehicle’s engine is illegal. California motorists routinely are sent back to Mexico and forced to empty unattached tanks spotted by U.S. border inspectors.

“It happened to someone who lives near me,” says Mr. Robinson, the Chula Vista plumber, who explains U.S. Customs agents at the border detained a neighbor of his when they spotted a 100-gallon container of diesel in the bed of his truck, then sent both driver and truck back to Mexico.

I doubt we will see any riots in the U.S. like those seen in Europe. But as people grow tired of not being able to afford gas, and stealing increases/continues, more might protest. Hopefully Americans can get through this without resorting to violence.

For those of you lacking a vehicle with a gas door release inside, or a lockable cap, you may be wise to get one. The thieves target those who are unprepared. 

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