Take a Multipronged Approach To Combat Fuel Theft

Close up of fuel being pumped into the fuel tank of a truck.

Fuel theft is a significant concern for trucking companies, leading to financial losses, increasing business costs and potentially disrupting operations. Fuel theft can happen in various ways, from drivers misusing company fuel cards to criminals installing skimming devices at fuel pumps to capture payment card information, which they then use until a fleet manager deactivates the card.

Reducing the risk of fuel theft requires a multipronged approach that includes technology, training and increased awareness. Solutions include:

Real-time monitoring and telematics: Integrating telematics and real-time monitoring systems allows fleets to monitor vehicle routes and fuel consumption patterns and ensure drivers are stopping at authorized fueling locations. Unusual or unexpected variations in fuel levels or increases in out-of-route miles can trigger alerts. Telematics systems can also help optimize routes, reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and overall vulnerability to theft.

Fuel audits: Closely monitoring fuel purchases, comparing receipts with driver logs, and monitoring fuel levels relative to the distance traveled can help identify theft. An audit can also identify other causes of decreased fuel efficiency, such as driver behavior or maintenance needs. Clogged or inefficient fuel injectors, exhaust and air leaks, and worn brake parts can all affect fuel economy.

Fuel cards with enhanced security features: Implementing secure fuel cards with PIN codes and regularly updating access credentials adds an extra layer of protection. Other security features tied to fuel cards include restricted locations and purchasing limits, which can help reduce unauthorized transactions.

Employee training: Fleet operators should train drivers about company policies regarding fuel theft, consequences and potential risks. Training could also cover security protocols, safe parking practices and reporting procedures.

Additional Solutions

Penske Truck Leasing offers fuel at hundreds of locations, and each location features full-service islands, which provide fleets with an added layer of protection. Customer service representatives fuel the vehicle, so fleets know fuel is going into the right assets. Plus, Penske’s full-service fueling experience is typically faster than self-service at a travel center or truck stop, saving drivers time.

Penske employees walk around the tractor and trailer and check for maintenance issues, such as mud flaps, headlights or taillights that need repair, which can reduce the risk of a roadside violation.

Another benefit of the Penske Truck Leasing fuel network is that all the information is consolidated into one bill and broken down by truck, location and transaction, making it easy to spot any anomalies.

For customers who are on the road, Penske Truck Leasing offers a proprietary fuel card that can be used at more than 100,000 fuel merchant locations across the country. With the card, fleets can set up security parameters, such as authorization controls, restrictions on specific fueling times and locations, and spending limits to minimize the risk of fraud. Similar to when a driver fuels at a Penske location, purchases on a Penske designated fuel card automatically transmit to Penske.

Fleets can also opt to bring fuel to the trucks so drivers don’t need to stop for fuel. Penske Truck Leasing has a network of mobile fueling providers that fill trucks on-site when parked. This can be done at night, so the equipment is ready to go when drivers arrive the next morning.