Gas Theft Seems to Be Increasing as Gas Prices Reach Record Highs

Gasoline prices have reached record highs recently. Some are looking to solutions like EVs or limiting their travel. Others are resorting to gas theft to get around. However, this is nothing new. In April, we reported that thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of gas, leading to increased legal crackdowns. In March, gas thieves in Texas stole 6,000 gallons of gas in a single day. 

Gas theft is becoming even more common as prices continue to rise due to the growing inflation crisis. Let’s look at the current state of gas prices and how gas thieves are reacting to it. 

Gas prices by the numbers

Yellow gas pump with gas prices rising and gas theft seeming to increase.
Gas pump | Getty Images

Indeed, gas prices have always fluctuated. According to Statista, gas cost only $2.35 a gallon in 2009, peaked at $3.62 in 2012, then dropped to $2.14 in 2016. However, as many consumers know, gas prices have reached unprecedented heights. ABC News reported that gas prices jumped 10% in May alone. Now, gas prices are around $5 per gallon throughout most of the US. 

That means if you had a 12-gallon tank of gas to fill, you’d be spending around $60 (assuming it’s mostly empty). Do that 50 times a year, and you’d be out approximately $3,000 by the time the year ended. 

Recent gas theft cases 

There were many gas theft cases in June alone, so it’s impossible to cover them all. Nevertheless, here are some of the highlights:

On June 10th, WHIO TV 7 reported that a man took a battery-powered drill, made two holes in a gas tank, took a five-gallon can, and let it fill up while allowing the rest to drain on the ground. According to the Moraine police, this is one of the only ways to steal gas since siphoning gas is impossible these days.  

The man was caught on a security camera but has yet to be identified by the police. They are still investigating the crime. 

On June 17th, Newsweek reported that hackers infiltrated gas pumps, stole gas, and sold it at a discount. They stole thousands of dollars worth of gas from a Virginia Citgo in a few days. Two men were quickly identified and charged with the crime: Rashsane Griffith and Deven Drumgoole. 

On June 22nd, CBS 4 and NBC 23 News reported that criminals in Pharr, Texas, had stolen up to $10,000 worth of gas using a device. The device allowed the thieves to steal gas without going inside the gas station. The Pharr police described it as a “sophisticated” device, indicating that the individual or group responsible for making it had extensive knowledge of both the device and the pump it was used on. As of the time of reporting, they are still tracking down suspects. 

All in all, thieves are beginning to resort to simple and complex methods to steal gas, from drills to full-on hacking schemes. That begs the question—will this gas inflation crisis ever end? 

There’s still hope: gas prices are dropping slightly 

Some hopeful numbers are emerging despite all this. AAA statistics show that gas prices are dropping slightly across the US to just under $5. However, the interpretation of these numbers is mixed. Yahoo reported that while some analysts are hopeful the prices will keep dropping, others say that only a significant drop in demand, such as an economic recession, will remedy the issue. Others still predict that the crisis will spread across the globe before it has time to resolve. 

Overall, the future of gas prices remains to be seen, but these numbers are at least a step in the right direction. 

RELATED: Gas Theft Is Off the Charts In Las Vegas: Here’s How It’s Done and Then Sold