UK Police Recommend New Gas Station Pumps against Fuel Theft

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. drive off / draɪv ɑːf / (phrasal) – to leave using a vehicle

    The fuel thief drove off quickly with his car, so the gas station owner didn’t see the car’s license plate.

  2. gas up / gæs ʌp / (phrasal) – to fuel a vehicle

    I’m going on a long drive, so I need to gas up.

  3. overextended / ˌəʊvərɪkˈstendɪd / (adj) – having too much work to do

    The team is overextended; it has too few members and too many tasks.

  4. underfunded / ˌʌn.dɚˈfʌn.dɪd / (adj) – lacking monetary resources

    The department was underfunded, so the members couldn’t buy the materials needed for the project.

  5. vigilant / ˈvɪʤələnt / (adj) – careful about possible harm

    People should always be vigilant when in unfamiliar settings.


Read the text below.

Local police have advised UK gas stations to modify their pumps to combat fuel theft.

Recently, gas stations in the state have been faced with rising cases of bilking, an act in which motorists drive off after gassing up without paying. Over the previous year, the number of bilking cases across the United Kingdom has risen to around 25,000. Incidents in some areas have even risen by 40%.

However, the police said they cannot investigate all cases of bilking involving amounts less than £50 of petrol because they are overextended and underfunded. Thus, the National Police Chief’s Council head of local policing suggested installing devices on gasoline station pumps to urge motorists to pay before their cars are fueled.

However, the Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) raised some concerns about the suggestion. According to the organization, modifying the current pumps would cost around £20,000 per gas station. Additionally, requiring customers to pay right away could discourage them from entering convenience stores in gas stations. In the United Kingdom, motorists have to enter a gas station store to pay for their gas directly at the counter. Since around half of gas stations’ earnings comes from sales of other items in the store, fewer customers entering would mean a sharp dip in profit.

In response to the problem, an organization catering to local UK shops released guidelines to prevent bilking in gas stations. The guidelines, which contained tips for gas station staff, include asking all customers if they bought fuel and watching out for customers that wear hoods or caps to conceal their identities. The guidelines also recommended being more vigilant on days before payday, where fuel theft cases increase.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with the police advice that requires drivers to pay for gas before they can gas up? Why or why not?
• If you owned a gas station, would you spend £20,000 on new pumps to prevent bilking? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What do you think are some dishonest practices by customers? Discuss.
• How do you think dishonest practices affect businesses?

Category : Business