Monday, September 25, 2023


Our gas was stolen! Tips for protecting against fuel theft

This was a first for us: The first time someone stole fuel from our truck. We’d taken our fifth wheel to an acreage in the country approximately three hours away from our stix-n-brix home. In exchange for full hookups and fresh country air, we were helping friends build their new house. The beautiful Ozark Mountains provided a wonderful backdrop to their home site and things were progressing at a steady pace on the build. The furthest thing from our minds in this peaceful setting was protecting ourselves against fuel theft.


It must have happened during the nighttime hours. We didn’t hear a thing. When we fired up the truck a few days later, we noticed that our fuel level was significantly lower than before. We’d been robbed! If we were going to continue working here, we had to figure out some ways to protect ourselves from further fuel theft.

Here are ways to prevent fuel theft we’re considering:

  • Parking strategies. The serene setting lulled us into a false sense of security. We’d made it relatively easy for the thief to snitch our diesel fuel because we’d parked the truck quite a distance away from our RV. There’s no way we could hear clanking gas cans or any other noise, for that matter. The truck was also far from the yard lights that helped illuminate most of the long driveway. If we’d parked under one of the bright lights, perhaps the thief would have thought twice about taking a chance on being seen. From now on our truck will stay under a light and much closer to our rig.
  • Locking fuel cap. There are lots of choices for locking fuel caps on Amazon. The price is quite reasonable, too! This seems to be a simple yet effective way to secure our fuel from the opportunistic type of thief. However, there have been reports that some thieves have gone as far as to completely rip out fuel caps, so a locking cap isn’t completely theft-proof.
  • Fuel alarms. Wireless alarms are another “add-on” we’re considering, in addition to the locking fuel cap. There are several vibration-sensing alarms on the market with very high customer reviews. Why invest in a fuel alarm? More and more thieves are bypassing the fuel-siphoning method altogether. Instead, the crooks crawl under the vehicle, punch a hole directly into the gas tank, and let the fuel drain out into their container. For these thieves, a locking fuel cap is not a deterrent. It’s important to note that thieves looking to use this “unconventional method” of stealing fuel, target SUVs and trucks because they can crawl under the higher-clearance vehicles more easily. Not only does the consumer lose expensive fuel, but they also will need to replace their vehicle’s fuel tank!
  • Cameras. Security cameras are another safety measure we’re considering. While a camera may not prevent fuel theft, it may help police track down the thief. A highly visible, posted sign, “Cameras in use,” may also cause a crook to think twice before attempting to pilfer some fuel.
  • Garage. When we’re home, away from the build site, we park the truck inside the garage. So far, it has protected our fuel from would-be thieves.

With high gas prices, I’m wondering if this has happened to others and other RVers too. Has this happened to you or someone you know? What precautions (if any) do you take to deter fuel theft? Please share your ideas in the comments below!



Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. Full tank syphoned out of 2022 Suburu Outback parked behind Class A motorhome at Boise City, Oklahoma city park. Apparently a common occurrence happening there in Boise City!

  2. Our truck is too long to fit in our garage. Two years ago when diesel fuel prices climbed we lost about 25 gallons one night when it was in the driveway. We’re sure of the quantity because we had just filled up. Our solution was 1) locking fuel cap. 2) locking fuel door. The under side of the fuel tank is protected by a custom duel 4” exhaust system that covers the bottom of the tank making access very difficult. The 51 gallon auxiliary fuel tank in the bed is protected by a locking hard cover. We also have driveway lights. It’s not foolproof but it works so far.

  3. Where is the breaking point? Just let them steal the fuel with no damage to your vehicle or puncture the fuel tank or siphon the fuel. The cost of repairing a fuel tank drastically outweighs the cost another fill of fuel in most cases. Buy a locked gas cap, install sensors, cover the fuel tank, cost of these remedies will probably outweigh the loss of gas. Possible solution to proverb “if there is a will there’s a way”, in keeping the cost of loss of fuel to a minimum, keep the tank to a quarter tank or so. Yea I know you may not have any fuel left to run the vehicle unless maybe you carry extra fuel. Another thought, buy a couple of big doggie bowls and fake poop and a leash next to the fuel spout.

  4. For trucks a 1/4″ skid plate that covers all four sides is a good deterrent, tack weld two of the bolt threads after the nut, and make sure your drain holes have a baffle in front of them. So, they can not drill through the hole right to the gas tank. I have been thinking about covering the rubber neck of the fill tube, but, it has to be non-sparking and flexible. Some vehicles do have a metal filler neck (rubber hose inside) that goes right to the tank.

  5. I had my tank drained in Tucumcari, NM back in 2002. Pulled off the interstate and decided to gas up then so I could hit the highway first thing in the morning.
    Got up the next morning and the tank had less than 1/4 tank.
    It was parked in well lit hotel parking lot.

  6. I bought locking gas caps during the 70s fuel shortage. Shortage, not just high prices. I guess I need to look into locking caps for my current cars and RV.

  7. I had a friend’s car end up with a lot of water in the fuel tank. Ended up getting a siphon with a very small hose that went into the vent hose and a squeeze bulb to remove most of the contents out to refill with fuel to get the vehicle going.

  8. My vehicle has a “capless” gas filler neck so a locking gas cap is not an option. There are two “doors” down inside that make it difficult to snake a hose down into the tank.
    I discovered that this design makes it almost impossible to add a fuel additive.
    Then I found that there is a long necked funnel that fits into the filler tube so you can pour the additive in with no problem.
    BUT . . . the funnel defeats the anti-theft system by opening the filler neck so you can snake a rubber or plastic hose into the tank.

  9. My son has had his 15 passenger van gas tank drill twice now, $2000.00 to replace the tank. He uses it for transporting customer. Locks will not stop this kind of theft.

  10. In our area, they don’t even bother with the gas cap and siphon, they just puncture the gas tank and drain it into a container. Have heard of estimates in the thousands to repair the damage to steal $100 worth of gas.

  11. The old saying goes “if they want it bad enough, they will get it” or “a lock will only keep the honest people out.”

  12. Locking gas cap will slow down the casual thief. Nothing will slow down the determined.
    Sad comment on today’s World.

    • People have been stealing gas for all the 60 years I’ve been driving.
      Thieves don’t care about locking caps because it is very hard to siphon from most vehicles because of various restrictors built into the fuel necks.

      • Agree, for relatively new gas vehicles. But my 2011 diesel pickup has a straight shot to the tank. I watch the diesel foam up after filling through the filler hose!

        • They cut the rubber hose on my SUV between the tank and fill spout 50 dol to fix got some solar lights can’t get 50 ft from them no more problems


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