121 Ways to Save Fuel: Fuel Theft

From the equipment you spec and maintain, to the fuel you buy, to driver training and incentives, you’ll find tips for nearly any type of fleet.

June 2014, - Feature

by HDT Staff

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111. Use physical theft prevention options

Use locking fuel caps, siphon screens, or other anti-theft devices, recommend the subject matter experts at J.J. Keller.

For instance, FuelDefend offers a line of anti-siphon fuel tank filler-neck guards called NeckIt.

“The biggest problem we see is not theft of the whole tank of fuel, but skimming, where 20-50 gallons are stolen in just a few minutes,” notes David Rogers, general manager. “Unfortunately, these incidents often go unnoticed by the fleet or owner-operator because quantities are small. Fuel management systems might pick this up as poor fuel economy, maybe 2-4% of fuel consumption. It’s significant, but perhaps not enough to alert you to a theft problem.”

112. Monitor tank levels and use

Integrating a fleet’s fuel card data and telematics data allows them to better monitor potential fuel theft. Such systems match fuel level information from a truck’s onboard computer with fuel card data for that truck, that location and time. If more fuel was taken on than the truck could actually hold, there may be a problem. Other methods:

  • R:Com from Blue Tree Systems connects directly to the engine CAN bus, helps reduce fuel theft by providing live data on fuel tank levels, and the quantity, location and time of fuel fills. R:Com’s Fuel Auditor automatically compares fuel purchased and fuel used and highlights discrepancies.
  • Omnitracs’ Exact Fuel application monitors and transmits fuel level information on the vehicle data bus directly to fleet managers. This insight helps identify discrepancies in fuel levels that may indicate theft.
  • Vusion’s fuel theft detection works with a PeopleNet onboard computer connected to the vehicle’s J1939 bus, fleets can track pre- and post-transaction fuel tank levels. The data is integrated with fuel purchases for verification that the entire purchase was deposited into the truck’s tanks.

113. Control the fueling process

“When evaluating fuel costs, most carriers look at the direct cost of fuel, as well as inventory, financing, administrative and transaction expenses,” says Ernie Betancourt, president of QuikQ. “While those things are all important, the fuel a carrier pays for that is not burned in its vehicles has to be considered as well. It’s a sensitive discussion but let’s call it what it is – fuel fraud. Five percent theft, which is difficult if not impossible to catch, approaches $4,000 per year for each truck.”

The QuikQ Fuel Purchasing System helps by giving fleets and truckstops live data for real-time reporting and improved security and control over fuel transactions.

Love’s Travel Stops is adding an RFID-enabled payment system at its travel stop locations, allowing customers to process payment at the pump through radio frequency technology.

A secure, low-cost RFID tag placed on a truck’s windshield. It is detected by an antenna installed in diesel lanes at Love’s locations. The electronic signal turns the fuel pump on and off and completes a payment transaction with little driver interaction.

Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution, El Paso, Texas, has more than 100 trucks on the road using the RFID payment system.

“The entire transaction is quicker and because the process is automated, we are assured that every gallon of fuel we purchase for our trucks is going into our tanks,” says Scott McLaughlin, president of Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution.

RELATED: 121 Ways to Save Fuel


  1. 1. Suvish [ April 01, 2015 @ 11:17PM ]

    J1939 bus data will not give accurate fuel level readings. I think, capacitive sensors are best way such as vepamon or indian company ormat technologies. They are pricey but accuracy is nearly 1% which is simply high!

  2. 2. Andrei [ August 01, 2015 @ 01:44AM ]

    Yes, onboard fuel level data is awful. But level sensors can't give 1% error, it is obvious, because temperature expansion of fuel is higher than this value. Most precise method of fuel consumption measurement - onboard differential fuel flow meter .

  3. 3. Harsh parak [ September 20, 2016 @ 12:40AM ]

    I was thinking of installing anti-fuel theft devices in my travels company where the fleet of vehicles is about 250-280 cars. All are company owned vehicles and drivers are assigned for each car. Problem in installing Ant fuel theft is the cost of installing such devices is very high and also the maintenance charges. I am not even sure if there is any theft happening or not so far, we have a mechanism where our vehicles go to certain assigned petrol pumps and then one of our supervisor who is present there makes a not of the quantity of fuel filled and what were the reading of car meter at the time of fueling. Then based upon the avg. mileage which is calculated by data given by supervisor we see if the there is significant drop in mileage and then take action against drivers.
    The problem here is we don't if the supervisors or the drivers or the employees at petrol pumps are involved in any alteration of data in order to steal some fuel and make money. There may or may not be a possibility of that happening. So i am unsure if by installing the anti-fuel theft devices if my cost is increasing over-all since the car fleet is large and so is the cost of the device or if i am really gaining by doing same.


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