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5 Ways to Reduce Fleet Fuel Theft

By Mark WallinJanuary 11, 2021

Fuel costs are a big expense for any trucking fleet. As a fleet manager, it's important to have backup systems in place to make sure your fleet is not paying more than it has to for one of its major operating expenses—fuel.

Fuel theft and unauthorized fuel purchases could be hurting your business more than you realize. To keep drivers honest and operating costs at a minimum, it's important for fleets to have a theft-minimization plan and a system in place to reduce loss related to this major operating expense. Let’s take a look at steps your fleet can take to help reduce fuel theft, then highlight how fleet management software can help. 

5 ways to reduce fuel theft 

1) Educate drivers on the dangers they face from fuel thieves

Discuss with your drivers the threat of fuel theft, which impacts fleet profitability and job security. Explain the systems the company has implemented to make them a less desirable target for fuel thieves. Take the opportunity to remind them of basic vehicle security, such as parking vehicles securely at night and making sure gas tanks and fuel caps are locked. 

2) Install fences, lighting and security cameras in vehicles or fuel yards

Vehicle yards are a popular target for fuel thieves, so make it as difficult as possible for them to break in unnoticed. Secure fencing and bright lighting make your yard far more visible from the road and less attractive to thieves. CCTV security cameras can also act as both a deterrent and an effective way to help catch criminals if theft ever occurs. 

3) Fit vehicles with fuel sensors and anti-siphoning devices

Fuel sensors can be linked to fleet management software, and exception alerts can be emailed to a mobile device in near-real time if fuel is drawn outside of normal working hours. This can aid in catching thieves who are stealing fuel red-handed. 

Download this free ebook to learn practical ways to reduce fuel cost.

4) Defensive parking

Park vehicles in a way that protects and blocks access to fuel tanks. This adds another layer of difficulty that may deter fuel thieves and cause them to move on to an easier target. 

5) Monitor your yard

Some fuel thieves will scope a yard during the day to target later that night. Take note of anyone acting suspiciously around your yard. Use signage to make it clear your yard is not an easy target for anyone intending to steal fuel.

How technology can help mitigate fuel theft

 To help mitigate risk associated with fuel theft, fleets can embrace fleet management software, like the Verizon Connect Fleet Tracking platform, that offers a comprehensive Fuel Card Reconciliation report as part of a Fuel Card module.

Each fuel card is tied to a specific company vehicle. The fuel card is kept with the vehicle, available for use by the driver. A Fuel Card Reconciliation report makes it easy to identify fraudulent behvior by comparing fuel card use to the actual location of the vehicle. If a card is used without an approved vehicle within a set range, the transaction gets flagged so fleet managers can investigate to see if unauthorized fuel card use took place. Once a purchase is flagged, it's important to note that there are a number of reasons why it might have happened:

  • The fuel card may be associated with the wrong vehicle. Check that the right card is being used with the right vehicle, and make sure it's entered against the vehicle details.
  • The fuel may have been paid for at a later date, or prepaid before the vehicle was refilled.
  • An unauthorized fuel purchase may have been made. 

If it appears to be a truly unauthorized fuel transaction, then it’s time to check with the driver and further investigate the matter. By being aware of fuel issues and encouraging responsible fuel card use, you can improve your fleet's profitability. 


Mark Wallin

Mark Wallin joined Verizon Telematics in 2012 and serves as the Vice President of Product Management.


Tags: Cost control, Safety, Training, Vehicle & asset security

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