The daily increase of regular self-serve gasoline has ignited reports of spikes in gasoline thefts across the country. 

The average price per gallon of regular gas in California climes to a record $5.744 Monday, jumping from $5.34 just a week ago, according to the American Automotive Association. 

Gasoline has spiked about 79 cents over the past two weeks in the United States, bringing the nation-wide average to a record $4.43 per gallon. Compared to a year ago, the price at the pump is $1.54 higher. 

In San Diego, the average price of regular self-serve gasoline is $5.77 per gallon. Some gas stations are already charging over $6 a gallon. 

According to AAA, criminals would siphon gas to remove it from a vehicle’s tank, but now thieves resort to drilling directly into fuel tanks. 

This new technique comes as newer car models have an anti-rollover valve between the fuel tank and filler neck, which makes siphoning gas from the fuel tank difficult.

Those who are victims of fuel tanks will have to pay off damages that could cost as much as $1,000, according to the AAA. 

AAA recommends that if you can't park your car inside a garage, try and find a well-lit area with lots of traffic.

It is recommended by the AAA to look for the following signs if you suspect being victim to fuel theft: 

  • The smell of gas as you approach your vehicle.
  • A puddle under your vehicle near the fuel tank.
  • The vehicle is not starting.
  • The vehicle starts, but the fuel gauge shows fuel is missing, and/or the check engine light comes on. 

Vehicle owners are advised to contact the police and file a police report if their vehicle has been tampered with, reach out to your insurance agent to find out if your policy covers the repair, and take your vehicle to get fixed as soon as possible. 

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