Expensive gasoline is not bad news for every segment of the economy. Oil companies are making out like bandits. Hybrid car sales are way up. And so are sales of gas cap locks, designed to prevent thieves from siphoning precious fuel from your tank.
All across the country, incidents of petroleum pilfering are way up. The New York Post called gas-siphoning “an epidemic.” One woman on Staten Island left her BMW in her driveway to take public transit, only to find an $80 full tank drained dry. The New York Police Department ordered 400 locking gas caps. “Demand is skyrocketing,” said Chris Hoffman, a marketing officer at automotive supplier Stant Inc., the nation’s biggest maker of locking gas caps, where orders more than doubled in the last few weeks.
Omaha, Ne.-based television station KPTM reported that several stores have sold out of gas cap locks. “50 to 70 percent more, people are definitely taking more precaution to protect their investment that they put their gas tanks,” said Michael Warman, an Advanced Auto Parts manager.
The Gilroy Dispath in Northern California wrote about a rash of gas left, including 35 gallons of gas from three cars in one location, six six gallons at another, 15 gallons from a U-Haul moving van, and 1,050 gallons of diesel and unleaded fuel, worth about $4,500, from a farm on the outskirts of town.
The farmer, Bob Filice, told the newspaper that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. “Our economy just isn’t looking so good now, and everyone’s scrambling,” Filice said. “So if you can steal something, well, I guess there are people out there who are desperate enough.”