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Siphoned Gasoline: Millions of Gallons Missing in Los Angeles

Written by Gary North on April 10, 2012

The city of Los Angeles spent $12 million to set up a fuel-tracking program.

Despite this gigantic expenditure, the city cannot trace what happened to $7 million worth of gasoline and other fuel.

It turns out that millions of gallons were pumped without leaving any record.

Taxpayers might imagine that a $12 million fuel-tracking system would keep track of fuel. That shows how naive taxpayers are.

Does the city still use the fuel-tracking system? Of course. To replace it would cost millions more, which would be an admission of defeat. It would indicate the complete incompetence of the officials entrusted with buying the original system.

It turns out that most departments don’t use the system to monitor employees.

When did the city discover this? Last week. When was the system installed? Over 10 years ago.

How much does the city spend on fuel? About $29 million a year.

Some employees are issued fuel cards. Using a keypad each time they fill up, they’re expected to input their vehicle number and an odometer reading. Other city employees are assigned to vehicles that are equipped with a high-tech system that automatically logs the vehicle number, mileage and quantity of gas pumped during fueling.

But those tracking systems can be bypassed, either manually or with so-called “master cards” that are assigned to each of the city’s 141 fuel sites.

Then there was this. About 94.000 transactions occurred in which the odometer reading at the time of refueling was lower than at the previous re-fueling.

I think this is suspicious. So does the auditor, who is running for mayor. This leads to North’s rule for auditors who run for office: “When the auditor is running for mayor, bureaucrats start running for cover.”

Since 1999, the city has paid an outside company to help it monitor fuel levels and usage. Every fuel transaction is recorded in a database managed by the Department of General Services, which in turn makes the data available to other departments. But according to the audit, only the Police Department analyzes fuel transaction data on a regular basis.

And so it goes, city after city, generation after generation.

The voters are powerless. Once voters accept the idea of government as a healer, they cannot bring themselves to pull the plug on the spending machine.

Continue Reading on www.latimes.com

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11 thoughts on “Siphoned Gasoline: Millions of Gallons Missing in Los Angeles

  1. goldendragon2012 says:

    Maybe they sent it to Iraq, along with the missing billions.

  2. sean murry says:

    Employees gased up thier cars.

  3. Employees probably gassed up their families' and friends' cars as well, either for free or charging them lower prices than they could get anywhere else. I'm sure with all the technology lurking around, there are better and safer ways to siphon gas from one car to another than sucking on a hose.

  4. Why not just gather all the employees and inform them that all will have pay check deductions untill the bill is paid and I bet the finger pointing will find those responsibile for stealing the gas.

  5. Joseph Co says:

    Excellent idea, lou. I think that should make the whole system come to a screeching stop. Public employees are the first ones who will take advantage of the system, one way or another, If they can't go to the local yard and fill-up their personal cars for free they will find a way around it, maybe by switching license plates on their cars with one government owned just for the 5 minutes that it would take to fill-up.

  6. Probably went into the tanks of the government employees private vehicles.

  7. I would look at city employees who are draining the tanks on city owned vehicles to fuel their own cars and vehicles . They then simply refuel the city vehicle and repeat the process . Lou has suggested an excellent idea , and when the fingers start getting pointed I'll bet you find the one's responsible are pretty high up in the food chain .

  8. MontanaMEL says:

    LA has their own garage's and shops…fully equip for smog laws and repairs, etc… UNION of course!

    Anyone ever thought of some video equip? Split screen…capture "person", time, lic number, and data "entered"…

    Computer is programed to calculate "MPG" since last fill up…anything more than 2 mpg "different" than before sets a flag..

    Order the car/truck/tractor into shop for check out and verify of mpg… nothing found wrong?…BACK CHARGE THE DRIVER!

    Do it just like the rental car companies… Charge about $2/gal higher than any local stations… ENTER SUCH CHARGE BACKS IN THE EMPLOYEE'S RECORDS FOR ALL MANAGEMENT TO SEE COME PROMOTION TIME…

    BTW: I use to operate a "company car"…for over 25 years….carried many credit cards…the back check is easy…happened to me EVERY WEEK via my Expense Acct. being checked by my manager and an acct…

  9. Navy Vet says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. Memphis, TN. had this problem and it was indeed the employees who were stealing the gas. They were not only stealing gas but using city equipment as well, for their own personal use. Now, you might ask if these employees were ever made to pay this money back. Nope. I never did hear anything, but I don't think they were fired either. Unions play a big roll in matters such as this.

  10. SILUS DOOGOOD says:

    The voters in California are sure stupied. They have gotten screwed into tons of prisons, more laws to get more people into them and cost them a ton of money. State program after state program has failed, more and more money goes to increasing state expenses. Yes those dumb democrat voters are really stupied and deserve everything they get. Couldnt happen to a better group. They are a great example of what you get when you vote democrat. Tax and spend Tax and spend. One thing is great is that those big mouth actors are really getting taxed a lot — and thats great.

  11. I guess the corruption in government reaches everywhere does'nt it.