Ontario’s branded gas stations will hunt down self-service customers who pump and run. “Driving off without paying for your gasoline is the same as if you put a sweater under your coat and left the store without paying for it,” Bob Clapp, Ontario vice-president of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI), which represents Canada’s gasoline industry. “It is stealing; there is no other word for it.” The theft deterrent and recovery program uses video equipment, already in place at most gas stations to ensure safety at the pumps, to record the licence plate numbers of vehicles whose drivers have driven off without paying for the gasoline they pumped. The registered owners of these vehicles will be traced and will receive a demand for payment for an amount that comprises the cost of the stolen gasoline plus administrative costs including tracing a car’s owner and producing the demand-for-payment letter. In total, an average $30 tank of gas ultimately could end up costing $300. If the vehicle owner does not pay, a small claims court action may be brought and the car owner might be liable for legal costs, as well. “The cost to a driver who drives off without paying will be stiff,” Clapp said. “These thefts hurt everyone: station owners and honest consumers alike. Gas stations need to minimize their losses or the rest of us will end up paying higher prices at the pumps. The new program should deter people from committing fuel theft.” Similar theft deterrent and recovery programs are in place in supermarkets, department stores and other retail outlets.