When I was a kid, my buddy Sean had a huge collection of 1970's-era MAD magazines. I remember flipping through them, laughing at the Star Wars and Jaws jokes, and being totally puzzled by the gas crisis humor. After all, this was the mid-1980's. Gas was cheap, cars were efficient (relative to the 1970's, at least), and the idea of siphoning gas was bizarre. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why someone would want to spend good money on a locking gas cap, much less suck fuel through a tube.
Flash-forward twenty years or so, and I'm starting to understand all the jokes. Recently, my wife and I calculated that, given current gas prices, it would cost us over $80 to fill up the Jeep Liberty that we used to own. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that there's been a rash of gas thefts. Earlier this month, the New York Police department ordered 400 locking gas caps, as there's been a high rate of gas siphoning. According to a recent report , a Lambertville, Michigan Sheriff's deputy was staking out a neighborhood to protect against an arsonist when the suspect actually tried to siphon gas from the deputy's cruiser!
Want to see how easy it is? Check out Tom Barlow's earlier post. In fact, as Josh Smith recently pointed out, some thieves are even stealing waste vegetable oil, as it is capable of powering diesel engines!
All of this rampant gas theft has fueled something else: locking gas caps, which used to be almost a historical curiosity, are back in style. Stant, Inc., America's largest manufacturer of locking gas caps, has seen demand go through the roof, as has Amazon.com and numerous retailers. This is hardly surprising; at $15-20 a pop, locking gas caps are an economical way to protect what may be the most valuable thing in your car!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He protects his gasoline by leaving it with all the other gasoline at the gas station.