The national average for gasoline has hit another record high at more than $4.30 a gallon nationwide, up $0.84 from a month ago, and $1.47 higher compared to a year ago. In fact, staggering spikes have pushed Uber to add a new temporary surcharge of up to $0.55 per ride and up to $0.45 more for Uber Eats which will go into effect this week. Uber says the extra fee will go directly to drivers to help offset rising fuel costs.
As gas prices continue to rise, drivers are feeling the pinch at the pump. That’s not news to anybody. But that’s not all. Car owners are being victimized again by fuel thieves. So, what can you do? We want to provide some tips to help you cope with the high cost of gas and protect the fuel that you purchase.
Gas Theft on the Rise
Because of the high value of fuel, there are now reports of gas thieves have been popping up all across the country. And with gas prices continuing to soar, experts are urging you to take caution against gas theft.
What was once a common way to steal gasoline in the past when there was an increase in price or shortages, but with anti-rollover valves now standard features on cars, thieves are using a different method to get your gas. They are actually resorting to drilling into the gas tank and letting gas flow from the gas tank into a container that they position under the car. This way they can drain the gas and take it with them to use or sell.
Experts call this a crime opportunity. But for car owners, this it’s really bad news. Fixing a perforated gas tank is a costly repair. Not only have they lost the money spent to fill up at the pump, it could cost around $1,000 or more to replace their fuel tank. Trucks and cars that sit higher are especially vulnerable to this type of crime because they are easier to get under and have bigger tanks. Gas thieves are going to target the largest gas tanks in order to get the most fuel out of the vehicle.
Signs that your car has been tapped are the smell of gasoline around your car, a small puddle on the ground under the body of the car and, of course, the fuel light on your dashboard.
How to Reduce the Risk of Gas Theft & Limit Consumption
- Park in a garage, if you have one.
- If you’re parking in public, try to find a secured lot with security cameras or near an elevator or stairway where there’s more foot traffic. This helps because thieves don’t want to be caught in the act. They don’t want people seeing what they’re doing.
- If you park on the street or in a parking lot, choose a visible and well-lit spot.
- Make sure that your car is maintained properly in order to optimize gas mileage:
- Check tire pressure,
- Get the air filters changed,
- Have the oil changed as needed with the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil,
- Schedule a regular tune-up.
- Carpool or take public transportation when possible. This will help you save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint.
- Drive less. If you can, try to combine trips or walk instead of driving.
- Shop around for the best gas prices. Use a website or an app, like GasBuddy, to find the cheapest gas in your area.
It should go without saying, but now is not a good time to get into an accident either as tow truck operators have had to raise prices in order to keep their fleet afloat.
Did You Know…?
- Driving slower is one way to optimize gas consumption; gas mileage usually decreases quickly at speeds over 50 mph.
- Every decrease in pressure by 1 pound per square inch for four tires can decrease fuel efficiency by 0.2%. By keeping your tires properly inflated, you can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average, and up to 3%.
- Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil in an engine can improve fuel economy by 1%–2%.
- Tuning a neglected vehicle or fixing one that failed an emissions test can increase fuel economy by an average of 4%.
Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.
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