Gas Theft a Growing Problem as Prices Rise

Gas Theft a Growing Problem as Prices Rise

Criminals Now Drilling Directly into Gas Tanks
Kip Doyle
Gas Prices

With gas prices creeping to new highs not seen in years, thieves looking to steal gas may begin targeting unsuspecting drivers. For a long time, siphoning was a popular method used to remove gas from a vehicles tank.

But, newer vehicles have an anti-rollover valve between the fuel tank and filler neck. This valve prevents gas from spilling out in the event the vehicle is involved in a rollover crash to lessen the chance of fire. It also makes it more difficult to siphon gas from the fuel tank and so thieves have begun to drill directly into the fuel tank to steal gasoline.

It was reported in April that gas theft rings have stolen over $140,000 in gas within recent weeks. As gas prices continue to rise, the threat of gas theft rises as well.


AAA suggests drivers take the following measures to protect themselves and their vehicles:

  • Park in the garage at your home if you have one
  • When out in public, park in a well-lit area with high traffic. If possible, park in a secure location like a fenced-in lot or parking garage.
  • When parking in a garage, find a spot near the exit or elevator as those have the most visibility and foot traffic.


A driver who suspects they’ve been a victim of fuel theft should look for the following signs:

  • The smell of gas as you approach your vehicle
  • Puddle underneath your vehicle near the location of the fuel tank
  • The vehicle does not start
  • The vehicle starts but the fuel gauge shows lower than it was when you last drove and/or the check engine light (yellow) is illuminated


Once a driver confirms their vehicle has been tampered with, you should:

  • Contact the police to file a report
  • Reach out to your insurance agent to see if your policy covers related repairs
  • Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility as soon as possible
  • Fuel tank repairs can cost as much as $1,000 to replace


As gas prices continue to impact our daily lives, remember to use the AAA Mobile App to compare gas prices wherever you are. Sort and filter by distance, price, and fuel type.

AAA Mobile