New figures show an increase in the number of motorists driving away without paying for fuel


According to industry leaders and newly released figures, there’s been an increase in the number of motorists driving away from petrol stations in the UK without paying for their fuel.

Figures suggest in the last financial quarter that the number of motorists driving away without paying for fuel has increased by more than a fifth, forcing some petrol stations to close.

The British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) figures claim that the average amount lost by UK petrol stations was £346 during the second quarter of 2018, however this increased by 21.4% to £420 per garage during the third quarter of 2018.

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The number of motorists driving off without paying for fuel has increased by more than a fifth, with some garages having to close as a result. © Copyright Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

According to BOSS, petrol thefts or ‘drive-offs’ make up two-thirds of all crime committed on UK forecourts, with the rest coming from episodes in which motorists haven’t got the means to pay once they’ve filled up and then fail to return to cover their debt.

Executive director of BOSS, Kevin Eastwood, said that “escalating fuel prices are clearly tempting more motorists to evade payment” and urged those working in petrol stations to remain “vigilant” against petrol thieves and drive-offs.

It has been suggested by many that introducing a payment method in which the customer has to pay up front for their fuel like some other countries do would help to tackle the problem with motorists driving off without paying, however pre-payment machines cost around £20,000 per forecourt and smaller garages may struggle to absorb such an amount.

Also, petrol stations only make slim margins on the sale of petrol and diesel and rely on customers purchasing inside to bump up their profits.


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