- According to some Ontario gas station owners, the number of so-called gas-and-dash thefts has increased as gas prices have risen.
- The proprietor has altered how people pay. Unless a regular customer, the person at the pump must now come inside to pay in advance.
- Proponents of paying before filling up want to level the playing field and keep workers safe by not prosecuting anyone who steals.
According to some Ontario gas station owners, as gas prices have risen, so has the number of so-called gas-and-dash thefts, in which motorists pump gas and then drive away without paying.
According to an owner who spoke to CTV News Toronto, thefts used to happen every two months at one station along Highway 10 in Caledon. He said there were five thefts during the price spikes in February and March.
The owner, who did not want to be seen on camera or have his name published, shared a video of a March theft with CTV News Toronto.
In that case, he said, the driver filled a Ford F-150 pickup truck with $188 worth of gas before driving away.
Since then, the owner has changed the way people pay. Unless the person at the pump is a regular customer, they must currently come inside to pay in advance.
Customers understand how owners feel when they lose money due to gas-and-dash thefts.
“With the price of gas, it’ll happen.” I’m paying $2.03 for a liter of gas. “It’s insane,” one of the station’s drivers exclaimed.
“Those people here have to eke out a living somehow.” If they steal gas, they will pay for it out of their own pockets. Another driver expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation, saying, “I don’t think it’s fair.”
The owner claims that business has decreased since requiring customers to pay in advance, that sales are competitive, and that consumers value convenience, but that thefts have also harmed the bottom line.
Meanwhile, people are paying more at the pump, and gas prices continue to rise. Some analysts believe they will reach $2 per liter before the May long weekend.
Paying before filling up proponents want to level the playing field and keep workers safe, so they don’t go after anyone who steals.
Advocates also want pre-payment to be made mandatory, as it is in British Columbia.
In Ontario, the owner of this gas station said that he and other owners have written to the premier about the problem.
Bill 231, which would have needed customers to prepay for gasoline before receiving it, received a second reading and was supposed to be referred to Ontario’s Standing Committee on Social Policy. Still, the legislative session ended in the fall of 2021, and the bill could not move forward.
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association estimates that the thefts will cost $3.7 million this year.
According to the region, it also claims that 85 percent of Ontario’s stations can prepay.
CTV News asked the Caledon OPP for statistics on gas-and-dash thefts, but they couldn’t provide them right away.
“In Caledon, when a report of gas theft is received, it is thoroughly investigated. “If there is evidence (for example, video surveillance), it is collected and used as part of the investigation,” a spokesperson stated. “
Source: CTV news
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