Fuel tank security solutions like smart fuel caps are always relevant because fuel prices have been known to fluctuate time and time again. When they spike, so does the number of fuel thefts. While the current situation seems familiar, it’s different, as there’s no way of telling if and when the prices will go down again. And in the midst of this hot streak, anyone carrying fuel is a potential target. 

To get more insight into the matter, we sat down with our brand partner Mapon Lietuva and asked to share their experience and opinion about the developing urgency surrounding fuel theft prevention devices, what exactly are the available solutions and do they achieve their goal.

Rising demand for fuel theft detection and prevention solutions

We begin the conversation by sharing how keen are businesses in looking for fuel tank security solutions that would protect their fleets from fuel thefts. And to no surprise, – “Right now, as the fuel prices are increasing, we can see it becoming more popular, and more companies are asking for them,” says the Head of IT at Mapon Lietuva Gediminas Butvidas.

“And it’s not only new clients, but also existing ones. Some of them previously had the smart fuel caps set up only for a few vehicles in their fleet. Now they’re interested in having the solution for other vehicles, too,” he continues.

One of the most common solutions are smart fuel caps, which register every instance when a fuel tank has been opened and closed, as well as provide a fuel theft alarm, when the tank is illegally accessed (just like a car alarm).

Gediminas shares that Mapon Lietuva has been offering smart fuel caps for a couple of years now and their experience shows that there are multiple reasons why clients choose to integrate this solution into their fleets.

We have a client who specifically wanted to install the solution not necessarily to protect themselves from thieves, but to monitor their drivers.

The solution ensures  that you can receive a notification every time a fuel cap is opened. The client can then see if it was done at a fuel station or not. Since some companies don’t even need the drivers to fuel up themselves, an open tank would signal a potential theft,” Gediminas explains.

It’s also clear that many clients are attracted to the built-in alarm system, which the smart fuel caps provide. The alarm, however, has to be manually activated and disabled from the truck, so as to allow the drivers to fuel up when needed. “But sometimes the drivers forget to turn the alarm back on, which is why the clients appreciate that they can see in the Mapon fleet management software, which trucks with active fuel caps have their alarms turned off,” our partner shares.

Benefits of using smart fuel caps

It is no secret that thieves can be smart as well. And as our conversation unfolds, we discuss the opposing opinions of people who argue that there’s no point in introducing additional security, as drilling a simple hole into the tank will circumvent all security measures. This begs the question – is it all for nothing?

“If the thieves are clever and can recognize what fuel theft prevention measures are installed in the truck, especially if there are any wires bowing out near the fuel cap, they will be forced to use another way to steal the fuel. But most often they just immediately go for the fuel caps to drain the tank that way. If the cap is locked or has a steel retainer, you can’t put the pipe in it, and the only way you can do it is to drill,” says Gediminas.

A smart fuel cap that's placed on a large truck fuel tank, ready to be installed.

So there’s, undeniably, a chance that they will steal the fuel anyway, but it will be harder for them to do. And if you have fuel theft detection solutions, such as an alarm or an open tank notification (fuel theft alert), you’ll know that there’s something going on.

He then continues to say:

“You can almost compare it to an insurance policy, where you can have a good insurance, a premium one or no insurance at all!

So if you have no equipment installed in your truck – that’s like having no insurance. If you have the smart fuel cap, it’s already good and if you have a fuel cap, an alarm, fuel level sensors and anything else – you’ve essentially done everything you can.”

When asked about other solutions that have the potential to work well together with smart fuel caps in increasing security, our partner points out:

“I believe that fleet camera systems work well together with smart fuel caps.

Not only will you be able to see the thief, but because of the information on when and where the fuel tank has been opened, you don’t have to go through all of the video material. You’ll already have an exact time of when it happened.”

Gediminas then shares a case with a client that chose to install fuel caps in his fleet back in 2018, but didn’t want the fuel theft alarm system with it. So all they have in terms of security are notifications of fuel tank open and close times. Nevertheless, this entire time it has worked well for them, proving you don’t necessarily have to buy every solution available on the market, but can fit everything to your business needs.

The Map section of the Mapon Pro platform, which also displays a specific vehicles's fuel tank and alarm data.

At the end, Gediminas points out the importance of having the right set of tools to protect the fleet by saying:

“At the end of the day, the more solutions you have available to you and the more information you have thereof, ensures that the theft is harder to carry out and gives you quick access to the most essential information if and when it happens.”

If you’re looking for additional safety measures to help make your fleet as safe as possible, contact our team for more information. As the saying goes – you never think you’ll need it, until you wish you’d had it.