Putting an end to unfettered fuel theft

Refuel retrofits its technology onto clients’ on-site bowsers.
Refuel retrofits its technology onto clients’ on-site bowsers.

Since it came to market in late 2020, Refuel has focused on minimising and ultimately eradicating fuel theft. This journey has seen Refuel expand from a business initially focused on conveniently refuelling vehicles and fleets via mobile fuel trucks to a far more sophisticated one which utilises its technology to provide a reliable and cost-effective mobile fuelling solution for fleet and generator companies, with a significant added benefit of helping to eradicate fuel card theft in the process.

In what is said to be a first-to-market, Refuel, a technology company at heart, has introduced its latest innovation – an IoT (Internet of Things) end-to-end system for real time fuel management.

Ricky Luntz is founder and CEO of the business that enables companies to control one of their biggest overheads – fuel. Since it was established in 2020, it has seen consistent month-on-month growth and innovative product development, aligned to customer needs. The latest IoT offering provides full visibility of the fuel’s journey through the company in all types of vehicles, plants and generators.

The fuel management software update allows logistics companies, mines and construction companies (amongst others) complete visibility of their entire fuel consumption, together with data analytics to scrutinise utilisation patterns as an end-to-end solution.

Refuel retrofits its technology onto clients’ on-site bowsers, inserts the probes into each asset’s fuel tank, links them to Refuel’s app and web-based ordering system, giving clients a digitally controlled real-time end-to-end fuel management solution tracking every litre of fuel pumped and consumed. Refuel’s system was developed as a response to feedback from the market about rampant theft that exists in decentralised fuel consuming locations.

“We have added additional functionality to our initial product to give customers a greater level of control and knowledge around their assets fuel consumption. The new version consists of a specialised fuel probe onto which software is written and which is installed into every single asset. The probe and our app perform a ‘handshake’ which acknowledges having received a certain volume of litres pumped into the tank. It thereafter tracks fuel – every single litre as it’s consumed, whether on the road, at a construction site, a mine or in a generator.”

For instance, when an asset is switched off, but the fuel level drops, the owner is immediately alerted via the app that fuel is being drained from the tank, what time it happened and where the asset was located.

Refuel’s technology is focused on addressing fuel theft and misuse. “With fuel consumption being one of the biggest operational expenses for any company with a fleet, criminal activity and abuse has to be minimised.”

Theft remains a serious issue. This typically happens in one of two ways, explains Luntz, misuse of fuel cards as fleet managers often has no visibility of what happens in retail forecourts and activity is completely uncontrolled from the business perspective or drainage of fuel out of fuel tanks. “On implementing our system, we have seen drops in consumption by as much as 20%, on top of a saving on the fuel price our clients often pay. This represents a large amount for a logistics, construction, or mining business, on what can be their largest operating cost. It can be even higher among companies that haven’t been tracking the cost.”

“In an environment where fuel expenses are a significant line item, management of that cost and mitigating misuse thanks to real-time reporting, gives a deep and detailed view of fuel costs and consumption than ever before,” Luntz says.

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