Fuel theft solutions – you get what you pay for

Fuel theft is a real problem facing fleet owners across the country. With fuel prices at record highs, now is a good opportunity to relook at the global problem of fuel theft.

Every year, hundreds of millions of Rands-worth of fuel is stolen – either through driver theft, spillage or skimming – leaving businesses counting the cost and looking for a way of fighting against fuel loss.

While some vehicles offer some kind of protection against siphoning, the stark reality is what they are offering really isn’t protecting their bottom line.

There are low-cost anti-siphon products on the market which are cheap and cheerful and will do the job – up to a point. However, these are not completely secure and don’t prevent the issue of skimming, in which the top 20 litres are stolen from full tanks.

Generally, that type of behaviour is done to avoid anyone noticing that fuel is actually going missing, because it’s masked within the km/l variance of a vehicle.

Fuel theft has developed; people are finding more inventive ways of skimming diesel from tanks for either their own personal use or to sell on the black market.

While they prosper, fleet owners are left counting the cost.

Companies implement lots of different measures to safeguard their fuel. It’s an issue that’s been around as long as the haulage industry has been in existence.

Investing in a fuel theft device which will provide safety and security for the driver and owner of the vehicle is something which is becoming more relevant as fuel theft becomes rife.

Consider this scenario: A loss of 20L, twice a week, adds up to 2 080 litres per year. At R15 per litre, the loss incurred is R31 200. A small fleet of 10 trucks could be losing R312 000 per year, while a larger fleet of 100 trucks could be losing R3.1 million per year.

“The challenge with promoting these products in South Africa is that most people think all units are the same,” says Ken Bailey, MD of TISS Africa.

“Investing in a solution like TankSafe Optimum, which prevents any diesel overfilling, skimming or syphoning, will give the above fleets a 12x money-back investment. Buying a cheap and cheerful commonly available anti-siphon device will not have anywhere near the same result.

“Securing the filler neck is like putting a security gate on the front door – it solves 80% of opportunistic theft. But, if the vehicle is subjected to higher levels of crime, we have additional solutions that protect/seal the secondary access points.

“The biggest complaints from clients who have tried competitor products are that these devices limit the speed the truck can be fuelled at. As the fuel hits the flat base, it foams or splashes back. Both TankSafe units don’t have this issue,” Bailey explains.

Below are the results of a fuel theft test done with several UK competitors to TankSafe.

TankSafe comparison

“We would like to explore a similar test in South Africa, if we could find a university willing to do an independent test,” concludes Bailey.

This article is published in association with TankSafe distributors in South Africa, TISS Africa.

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