It’s a flashback to the late ’70s.
People are stealing gasoline again, and auto parts dealers can’t keep locking gas caps on the shelves.
Dealers are saying that their customers need the caps to protect their gasoline investment.
Gas prices across the county averaged $3.16 per gallon late Saturday.
“We’ve had a couple of customers come in buying them, because they said they’ve already been tagged,” said Gary Heggenstaller of Featherstone Auto Care in Woodbridge.
The auto parts store sold out of gas caps Friday as soon as gas prices started pushing the $3 mark, Heggenstaller said Saturday afternoon.
“Nobody’s got ’em,” Heggenstaller said.
“They were gone almost immediately. We have six other stores and they were out almost immediately,” he said.
Roy Bryant of Carquest Auto Parts on Euclid Avenue, Manassas, sold every gas cap they had in the last two days.
“We hardly ever sold any gas caps until the prices went up,” Bryant said.
Robbie Taylor said J.K. Auto Parts on Mathis Avenue in Manassas also sold out of the caps Friday.
Taylor almost didn’t get a locking gas cap himself.
“I got the last General Motors one for my wife when she filled up yesterday,” Taylor said. “Sixty dollars worth of gas – I’ll spend $15 for a locking gas cap.”
Like other dealers, Taylor called the distributor for more but they haven’t come in yet.
“We have a lot on back order, but none available right now,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s customers also reported gasoline theft.
“There was a lady in here this morning said some people in her neighborhood last night got ripped off,” he said.
Taylor has also ran out of other gas-related products.
“I sold all my five gallon gas cans – gone,” he said.
Rory Frank of Total Auto Parts Woodbridge had a couple locking gas caps left Saturday afternoon, but they were going fast.
“We’re having a run on them,” he said.
Frank said the gas caps won’t keep the determined from stealing gas, but they’re a good deterrent for people in a hurry.
“It’s going to keep out the kids,” Frank said.