Drive-Off Safety

Though fuel theft has always plagued gas station operators, with the rising price of gas, gas-and-dash scenarios – where people fuel up at the pump then drive off without paying – are growing at a alarming rate.

Today, gas stations owners face a double whammy, not only do they lose sales to theft, they also make little profit on gasoline sales since most have negotiated fixed margins on their sales volume. However, their credit card fees keep rising as they are based upon a fixed percentage fee, which severely erodes a retailer’s profitability. As a result, it is not uncommon for operators to sell gas at a loss when prices get too high.

At two cents per litre of margin on average, it takes $4,000 in sales to compensate for $80 of stolen fuel. And that’s just to break even.

To help combat the problem in a safe manner, OCSA and Crime Stoppers recently launched a joint initiative to limit losses due to fuel theft. Based upon materials provided by Suncor and the Mac’s Crime Busters program, a training and education kit has been prepared and offered for free to gas retailers in Toronto. In addition, the OCSA took further action to raise public awareness by outlining the problem to media. It also initiated contact with the Ministry of Labour with the aim of finding ways to minimize damage to small gas operators.

The CCSA has begun discussions with retailers, gasoline suppliers and the regional associations on expanding this very successful Ontario program nationally.