Losing track of fuel purchased and losing actual fuel through siphoning costs your company money. In most fleet management budgets, fuel is the second biggest expense. Using common sense, software and locks, you can save your company significant amounts by preventing fuel theft.
As a starting point, you need to protect your fleet from all types of theft. To do this, make sure you carry adequate business insurance. For fuel theft, here are six tips that will reduce or eliminate the problem.
Caps and Cameras
#1. Locking fuel caps are still the basis of any effective fuel protection program. These prevent thieves on the street from siphoning off fuel from your vehicle’s tank. Skimming small amounts, like 2% to 4% is hardly noticeable, but will impact your bottom line over time, especially when you multiply that amount by the number of vehicles you have.
#2. Put up cameras in your parking lot and monitor it 24/7. Make sure the cameras are noticeable. Put up signs announcing the fact to deter potential thieves.
#3. Don’t let drivers leave a car out of sight or in a dangerous area. This means avoid parking in back alleys. Make sure the vehicle is in a well lit area, one that is observable by the driver or other responsible people.
#4. Always stay with the vehicle when it is being fueled. This prevents thieves from tampering with the fuel line or the card processing system.
Make sure that drivers don’t write their ID number on their fuel cards. This just makes it easier for thieves. Teach drivers to inspect fueling stations for signs of tampering. The processing unit should be solid and fully enclosed and there should be no extra space around the unit.
Keep Track of Fuel Purchases and Mileage
#5. Use GPS fleet monitoring software that lets you put sensors in the truck to record fuel tank levels, the amount consumed and when and where fuel is purchased. This lets you get an accurate overview of vehicles that show abnormal usage compared to the fleet average.
#6. Take time to run the numbers. Use weekly or monthly reports to see how much fuel is unaccounted for as well as the indirect costs of labor and time. Software will let you track fuel from its purchase to storage and dispensing. But it does you no good if you don’t stay on top of the data.
Learn how to use the reports you generate. Plot usage trends to spot irregularities. Create a fueling history for your fleet and for individual trucks.
Consistent monitoring will plug the hole that drains away your fuel dollars. Careful oversight can save your company serious money by preventing fuel theft. As always, be sure your company vehicles are protected with commercial auto insurance.