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Yes, we’re back to the season of stealing gas because it has become so expensive. But in the past, it was as simple as flipping the gas door (or flipping the license plate down), twisting the cap, and siphoning the gas. Now, with locking gas doors, roll-over valves, and locking gas caps, it’s not so easy. Well, actually, it is easier now. Thieves are just punching a hole in the bottom of your tank, and let the games begin. 

Where are gas thieves striking?

A gas pump nozzle close up
“Fill ‘er up!” ” Getty

Stories of this happening are being reported across the country. Usually, it is happening in larger metropolitan cities, but give it time. Soon, this new twist on an old favorite will happen in your town. We hope not, but bad news travels fast.

Before, you chalked it up to kids needing gas for their motorcycles or Saturday night date. Other than some gas rolling down the fender, you were only out a few bucks. But now, you’ll need to replace your gas tank, so the numbers go up considerably from years past. The LA Times says the cost to replace gas tanks is anywhere from $300 to $3,000.

It’s great news for gas thieves

man breaks into a car with a crowbar
Thief about to break open the side door of a vehicle | Getty

The good news for thieves is that your dirty work is being done with the cover of a car or truck, so they’re less noticeable. And a cheap drill and drill bit cost almost nothing these days. Plus the trend to lifted trucks and SUVs gives the thieves a more comfortable area to work in. So hooray for the bad guys. 

What can you do? The police recommend pointing the back of the car out to the lot, so it is more visible. And doing that in a well-lit place is even better. Recommending locking gas caps doesn’t work anymore, though they still suggest it. 

Another obvious choice is to clean out your garage and use it for what it was intended for, to park your car. But some trucks and SUVs can’t fit in them, anyway. And for many, a garage or secure parking structure is not an option. 

The DIY solution is not a good solution

An old metal gas can, its paint peeling off, sitting on a stained concrete floor.
Metal gas can | Madelynn Woods via Unsplash

Gas Prices Are out of Control but Will Soon Get Worse

Some have tried some DIY attempts to plug the hole or holes in their tanks. You could remove the tank, take it to a radiator shop to have it boiled out, then find someone to weld or patch it up. But that is a lot of running around and waiting, so this only works if you can be without your car or truck for a few weeks. And even then, you’ll still have to install it when you get it back, so there’s more time lost. 

In the end, the surest way to eliminate the problem is either to sell it and buy an electric vehicle or have a steel plate welded under your gas tank. While neither of them is a particularly cheap way to go, either one will fix the problem. 

But as we’ve seen with stolen catalytic converters, thieves will go back and try it again if they’ve been successful before. Having to replace your gas tank two or three times just doesn’t seem like a fun start to the day.