Fuel is expensive, and there is little reason to suspect that the price of fuel will come down any time soon. Service vehicles guzzle gas in the normal course of doing business. Fleet managers understand it is a cost of doing business that they will always have to pay.
However, the cost of fuel for an organization can be higher than it should be if employees are stealing it for personal use. Stolen gas raises costs, squeezes margins, and hurts morale. Stolen gas can impose a huge cost on businesses, especially if they don't know they're being robbed.
We've previously discussed how GPS tracking software can help with fuel management. However, it is also well suited for dealing with fuel theft. By using technology to find the signs of fuel theft, fleet managers can quickly put a stop to it.
One of the ways employees steal fuel is by using vehicles for non-business related trips. The Position Logic GPS tracking platform has features built in that can prevent drivers from using vehicles for personal business. Geo-fences can alert management when vehicles exit their approved usage zones. There can also be alerts to notify management when vehicles are used outside of the driver's working hours.
Fuel cards introduce convenience and control over the fuel purchased for an organization. It lets drivers pay for fuel at any station with a company card that gives management direct access to see and manage costs. However, what the fuel card doesn't tell is what vehicle is being filled. GPS can help with that job.
It's an unfortunate fact of doing business that there are unscrupulous employees who will use company vehicles and equipment for personal business. The business bears the burden of those costs. Despite fuel theft being so common, businesses without a GPS tracking system are not well equipped to put a stop to it.
A GPS tracking system can measure the fuel economy of the various vehicles and match it up with the fuel purchased for those vehicles. If the driver is using his fuel card to purchase more gas than his vehicle is consuming, management will have to wonder where the rest of the fuel is going. It would also be suspicious to see the record of a driver purchasing fuel on a day the GPS system has a record of him being out sick or on vacation. Businesses also can prevent gas theft by using technology to recognize if a vehicle is pumping more gallons of gas than it can hold. It could be that the driver is also filling a friend's vehicle, filling gas cans for his lawn mower, or buying gas for some other non-work-related purpose.
Keeping track of fuel economy for various drivers and vehicles is an effective way to spot fuel theft. Based on drive time, if a vehicle's fuel economy drops suspiciously low, there could be an employee stealing fuel. For example, if a driver uses 40 gallons of fuel over the course of two days, but only registers 150 miles of travel, that would mean they are getting 3.75 MPG, which is suspiciously low for his type of vehicle. Fuel economy dropping is not always a sure sign of fuel theft. It could also be a sign that the driver's vehicle needs maintenance. This would be another example of how GPS tracking can help lower fleet maintenance and fuel costs.
Ending fuel theft will require managers to discuss the problem directly with their employees. GPS tracking software can uncover suspicious fuel consumption, but it does not always mean theft is involved. Evidence from a GPS tracking system is admissible as evidence in gas theft cases, but managers should first sit down to discuss the issue openly and honestly with their employees before making allegations.
If you run or are considering starting a GPS tracking business, show your clients how they can lower their fuel costs by ending fuel theft. Sign up for a free demo to see how tracking mileage and fuel consumption can help.