DEARBORN – The only thing worse than paying more for gasoline is paying more for gasoline and having it stolen out of your gas tank. As reports of fuel theft continue to rise, Ford owners can feel a little more secure knowing their vehicles have fuel system innovations such as the Easy Fuel® (capless fuel filler) feature.
The Ford Easy Fuel feature is designed to easily let fuel in and make it difficult to get fuel out.
That’s important as gas prices hover at the $4 per gallon mark, and demand remains high with drivers in the United States consuming about 400 million gallons of gas daily.
“Our first goal is to make the refueling process as easy and trouble-free for the customer as possible,” said Brian Aitken, supervisor, Fuel Systems. “But if it also slows down would-be thieves. Ford customers benefit that way as well.”
Reports of gasoline theft have been rising across the United States, from New Jersey to California. The West Sacramento, Calif., Police Department, for example, issued a warning to residents about a rise in fuel theft that it attributed to the increase in fuel prices.
One report from Atlanta centered on a man who was caught running a garden hose from his house to a nearby car he didn’t own.
“It’s not a shock that illegal siphoning is rising with the sharp increase in the price at the pump,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, an independent website that monitors the fuel industry. “Criminals will do anything for money, and that includes trying to take liquid gold out of your gas tank.”
Ford’s capless full filler deters gas theft two different ways. With Easy Fuel, a spring-loaded flapper door is held closed by latches that can only be released by a standard-size fuel nozzle. This eliminates the need for a fuel tank screw cap. When the proper nozzle is inserted into the filler neck of the system, the latches release, and the nozzle pushes the spring-loaded flapper door to the open position. When the nozzle is removed, the flapper door automatically is forced closed by the spring.
Easy Fuel has a unique mis-fueling inhibitor to reduce improper refueling and siphoning. The inhibitor consists of a fuel nozzle detector that guides the nozzle to the opening. If a nozzle or foreign tube of a different size – a diesel nozzle or plastic hose, for example – is placed in the filler neck of a gasoline-powered vehicle, the latches will not release.
“Unless they understand how the mis-fueling inhibitor works and come prepared, many would-be fuel thieves are unsuccessful in siphoning fuel from Ford vehicles,” said Aitken.
Another deterrent in Ford vehicles is associated with the on-board refueling vapor recovery (ORVR) system. The main purpose of the system is to prevent vapors from escaping during the fueling process. Another deterrent in Ford vehicles is an inlet check valve that is part of the on-board refueling vapor recovery system. While the valve is primarily designed to prevent vapors from escaping during the fueling process, it also can thwart siphoning efforts because it closes automatically after the fueling process. It does so by detecting the pressure of liquid fuel as it passes. On many Ford vehicles, this valve will thwart the siphoning effort by thieves.
Still, Aitken said that despite the fact that technologies built into Ford vehicles may prevent siphoning, not all fuel thieves will be deterred.
“For another level of deterrence, a customer can purchase a locking cover,” Aitken said. The locking covers are available for purchase from Ford and Lincoln dealers.