Who stole my fuel?
Fuel management and fuel theft alerts has never been so urgent to companies around the world and especially in third world countries.
The damage this situation creates for many companies can sum to millions of dollars a month and up to 10th of millions loss annually.
Many articles where written over the past last years related to fuel cost and the cost of labor in various markets, which makes employed drivers add some additional, un official income to their monthly payroll. By borrowing (with no intention of return…) a few liters of fuel from their company vehicle on a daily basis, drivers can double and sometimes triple their monthly income.
This situation makes it very important to have a real and definite solution to it.
There are several solutions today on the market aiming to at least have the fleet owner be aware of fuel theft and fuel refilling activities.
Here are four of the most common solutions today on the market :
- Fuel management using fuel sensor that installed inside a fuel tank
This solution for fuel management is based on a special fuel sensor that can sense the fuel type, level and monitor each liter comes in and out of the tank, and is the most comprehensive solution on the market today.
The device is installed in the fuel tank, usually by drilling a new hole to insert it.
It comes with expensive safety regulation approvals that makes its price very high, nevertheless, the installation process is done by experts only and usually makes it difficult for the vehicle owner to retain the vehicle manufacturer warranty.
Therefore, this is the most expensive solution for fuel management on the market today so acquiring and installing it might come to 200-350USD
- Fuel management using fuel tank cap sensor replacements
These devices usually monitors every liter of fuel comes in and out of the fuel tank cap. Some of them also have an alarm system, which makes it impossible to take fuel out of the cap tank without the sensor notifying it.
Due to the fact that it monitors only insertion and extraction of fuel thru the tank cap, it’s very hard to find fuel theft when the fuel is being taken out directly from the fuel pipe.
- Fuel management using direct connection to the fuel float by a communication port (IO) from a GPS tracking device
This solution today is the most common solution on the market thanks to the minimal cost entering price. Using even low end GPS tracking device and connect it directly to the fuel float.
Down side to this fuel management solution is mostly the accuracy. The fuel float sensor is constantly moving up and down and reads different level all the time. For this solution to be accurate, the GPS tracking device must have a kind of mechanism to flatten the level gaps and show a real level or at least close to real level reading.
- Fuel management using fuel adaptor that connects to the fuel float and reads the data from it and can level the fuel waves into stable reading.
This is the most logical solution today on the market. As per quality of the device it can show a kind of stable reading as long as there is reading from the fuel float.
The device itself is relatively cheap – 80-150USD but there are couple of problems with the current offering:
- The reading is not accurate, most of the devices show deviation or 10-30% (!) from the actual amount of fuel in the tank. This way, installations on a 150liter or 600 liter trailer or truck fuel tanks will usually not show any fuel theft if thieves takes usually 3-5 liters at a time.
- Calibration takes a lot of time and is very clumsy process. All these fuel management devices needs to empty the fuel tank for the initiation calibration process. Then some devices needs refueling to be made very slow, stop every 10-15% from refilling then go on, or refill and empty the tank several times etc..
Most of the current solution on the market, shows real-time fuel level and alerts when fuel level goes down dramatically or being refilled when the vehicle ignition is turned on.
But, none of them offers real-time alerting when the vehicle is turned off!
This is crucial for situations when the vehicle is parking
and somebody comes, punches a hole in the tank and starts pumping fuel out, usually at night.
The majority of the devices on the market today will alert this fuel theft event in the morning once the vehicle is turned on – but it will be too late.
Israel based ERM Advanced Telematics, one of the top 5 GPS/GSM tracking devices and solutions manufacturers in the world today, with more than a million tracking devices sold to date is offering a complete solution to this situation.
The eFuel is a simple accurate fuel level adaptor especially designed for quick installation and calibration process (15-30 minutes) to allow better fuel management offerings. The eFuel is intended to report vehicle fuel levels, fuel consumption, fuel theft and refueling events using a unique floating fuel level sensor system.
The eFuel is connected between the fuel float and the fuel gage. It converts the analog outputs or electrical pulses (depending on the fuel float sensor system) from the standard fuel sensor using its unique firmware, and applies sophisticated algorithms to the real time date, converting it into stable output (in liters or gallons) and reporting fuel events simply and clearly.
In terms of accuracy – using the eFuel for fuel management, the fleet management system will preview the same fuel level as the vehicle’s original fuel gage display.
One of its unique features is the eFuel pull-up mechanism, designed to monitor fuel level changes also when the ignition is off (!).
Using ERM StarLink family of telematics devices like the StarLink Tracker or StarLink SVR, and the ability to monitor the fuel level even when ignition is off, enables eFuel to transmit Fuel Theft Alert and Fuel Fill indications including time and position of the vehicle and makes it a real full time fuel management solution.
ERM’s fuel solution offers also over-the-air configuration and parameter changes to the device.
With absolute real-time, even during ignition off, and with accuracy of less than 1 liter deviation in fuel level reading at all times and a very aggressive pricing model, ERM’s fuel management solution today is the most cost effective and upmost solution for fuel monitoring and theft alerting solution in the world today.