“Clearly some people are struggling and tending to feel the best way to manage is to steal fuel,” CEO of Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association Mark McKenzie said.
“It’s unfortunate but it’s a fact of life too.”
Some of the unlucky service stations include Condell Park, Colyton and Wollongong.
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data has shown with every 10 cent increase in petrol prices there will be an extra 100 runaway drivers reported each month.
A driver filled up at Budget Petrol in Redfern. (9News)
Before driving off without paying a cent. (9News)
To stop the thieves, service stations are implementing number plate scanning technology to keep a close eye on repeat offenders.
For those who keep stealing, the service stations can request payment upfront or refuse service.
To offset the missing money, businesses are forced to hike up their prices leaving more of us out of pocket.
For every tank that doesn’t get paid for, it takes 60 others to offset that loss.
“If people don’t pay the money back they get charged with more harsh charges so it’s in their interest to pay it back,” Evan Hansimikili from Budget Petrol said.