In 2008, during the last recession, gas cost more than $4 a gallon, leading many desperate individuals to turn to thievery to try and keep their own car running. They weren’t robbing gas stations and emptying underground tanks — instead, they targeted their neighbors’ vehicles, siphoning out any fuel they could find.
While gas prices aren’t as high as they were 12 years ago, there are still opportunistic fuel thieves out there looking to make off with your car’s gas supply if they have the opportunity. What can you do to protect your car?
Buy an Electric Car
This might sound a bit excessive, but hear us out. Buying an electric car means that you don’t have any fuel for the thieves to steal. No one is siphoning off battery power while you’re sitting in the parking lot.
Not only is it a great way to protect the planet and reduce your impact on the environment, but an electric car will also render you essentially invisible to fuel thieves. If a car is too much of an investment, consider switching to an electric scooter or another battery-powered mode of transportation.
Install a Locking Gas Cap
This is easily the best way to prevent fuel thieves from making it off with your fuel or damaging your car to try and get into your gas tank. Locking gas caps are easy to install — just take off your original gas cap, install the new one and lock it with the provided key. A heavy-duty cap can even discourage persistent thieves from trying to break off the cap when they don’t have a key.
Be Smart About Where You Park
When you’re talking about automotive security, you need to be smart about where you park. If you have to leave your car for any length of time, make sure you’re parked in well-lit and highly-trafficked areas. Fuel thieves, like most car thieves, are looking for an easy score. They’ll target vehicles in dark areas that don’t get a lot of foot traffic because it’s easy for them to get in and out without getting spotted.
Park in your driveway or garage while you’re at home. When you’re out, stay in well-lit areas.
Use an Anti-Siphon
Most modern vehicles come equipped with an anti-rollover valve to keep the fuel from leaking out and creating a hazard if the car ends up on its top. This also acts as an anti-siphon valve, making it impossible for fuel thieves to siphon your fuel without punching a hole in the tank.
If you still drive an older vehicle, you can order and install aftermarket anti-siphon valves. When you pair these with locking gas caps, you can deter most casual fuel thieves and keep your car safe.
Fuel thieves are opportunistic. If they think they can siphon off your gas and get away with it, they will. Don’t make it easy for them. Install a locking gas cap or anti-siphon valve and be smart about where you park. If a new vehicle is in your future, consider taking fuel out of the equation entirely and upgrading to an electric model.