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Gasoline prices are spiraling upward, creating challenges for drivers at the pump. To save money, many car owners are resorting to tactics such as driving less and searching for the cheapest gas stations around. Some are even gravitating toward purchasing EVs. But one set of thieves recently came up with a different tactic for dealing with sky-high gas prices: stealing over 1,000 gallons of diesel. 

Gas prices continue to skyrocket across the U.S.

A white car being filled up by a black gas pump as gas prices continue going up.
Gas pump | Getty Images

Gas prices have been making the news recently as they remain close to record highs. For example, the US Energy Information Association recently reported an average price of over five dollars per gallon, up around 13 cents from the week before and close to two dollars from a year ago. 

With gas prices as high as they are, many consumers struggle to fit new energy costs into their monthly budgets. After all, price increases this steep mean that car owners have to double their gas budget. This leads to desperation among the many who simply don’t have that much wiggle room in their monthly expenses. It’s even gotten to the point that a Michigan sheriff says his deputies will no longer respond to non-emergency calls due to gas prices. 

Thieves stole over 1,000 gallons of diesel gasoline

With the situation as difficult as it is, one group of people came up with an illegal solution: gas theft on a major scale. As CNN recently reported, these thieves managed to steal over 1,000 gallons of diesel gasoline from a family-owned gas station in Houston, TX. 

The theft didn’t take place all at once but rather over several days. The caper was discovered after the gas station owners noticed discrepancies in the station’s fuel levels, and they went back to review security footage. They found that a mysterious van had been parking on top of the lids leading to the underground tanks and siphoning 300 to 350 gallons of fuel at a time through a trap door in the bottom of the van. 

Once the owners discovered the van, they could chase it off, but not before they’d lost between $5,000 and $6,000 worth of fuel. The Houston Police Department is investigating the theft. 

Why are gas prices so high?


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Gas prices are at their current highs for several reasons. As NPR explains, part of the problem is a massive refinery shortage in the United States. Refinery capacity is currently around a million barrels a day lower than before the pandemic. As we head into the peak summer travel season, high demand creates price spikes as supply fails to keep up.

Another factor contributing to high prices is the Russian war on Ukraine, which has led to sanctions that have further lowered the availability of fuel and oil. Gasoline can’t be produced without petroleum, so these sanctions have made it even more challenging to create the gas supply necessary to lower costs. 

Other supply chain challenges created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have increased the difficulty of bringing fuel prices down. As refineries have had to shut down intermittently due to health and safety protocols, they have fallen farther behind in meeting the world’s demand for oil. 

Unfortunately, there is currently no clear end in sight to the rise in gas prices that Americans have been experiencing. But hopefully, drivers will find ways to deal with the crisis that doesn’t involve resorting to illegal activity.