“Skimmers” are devices which thieves use at fuel dispensers to steal customers’ credit and debit card information from at-pump card readers. As skimming technology becomes more advanced it also becomes more prevalent. Wireless skimmers can be hidden within the dispenser, making them extremely hard to spot. In one US State alone, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service found 166 skimmer devices between March and December of 2015. Each skimmer may affect between 100 and 5,000 consumers before it is discovered, stealing on average $1,000 from each victim¹.
In November 2015, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced the filing of legislation² to help protect consumers from skimmers and provide better tools to combat fraud at gas stations, by:
There is also a range of options available from Franklin Fueling Systems that offers ways for station owners to protect consumers from skimming and data theft.
Fuel Management Systems
INCON™ brand TS-550 evo™ fuel management systems feature highly sophisticated processors and software. The powerful rules engine allows you to wire various inputs and outputs to determine if your fuel dispenser pump is being tampered with and, if so, what actions the tank gauge should take. Pairing the fuel management system with a few third-party sensors or accessories can greatly improve your ability to protect your fuel.
A magnetic contact sensor includes two surface mounted magnets which can send a signal to a controller when one magnet moves away from the other. Mounting a magnetic contact sensor on your dispenser access panels or your exterior doors provides added security against theft or tampering. Once paired with a TS-550 evo™, the tank gauge can sound an alarm if either the access panels or exterior doors are opened when they shouldn’t be. This feature successfully aided in the arrest of criminals attempting to install a skimming device in California in 2014³.
The TS-550 evo™ can be programmed to send two types of alarm on a triggering event: audible or silent. An audible alarm will alert station staff and could help to scare away anyone tampering with fuel dispensers. A silent alarm will send a text message or email alert to the site owner, police department or another designated contact without alerting thieves.
As skimming devices are placed in at-pump card readers it is important that station owners are able to keep an eye on these at-risk pumps, especially those further away from the storefront. TS-550 evo™ tank gauges can be paired with motion sensor devices to automatically turn on lights or video surveillance cameras when a customer pulls in to the forecourt and turn off again when they leave. This adds an extra level of security, especially for 24/7 fueling points, and also reduces costs as video surveillance equipment and lights are only turned on when they need to be.
The TS-550 evo™ can also be programmed to automatically shut down a dispenser if the video surveillance camera covering it stops working. If surveillance cameras are tampered with the affected pump will shut down, warning site owners that the pump needs to be checked for evidence of tampering. This feature can help protect a site owner from fuel theft, as well as protecting customers from skimming devices.
To help you spot skimmers, remember:
¹ CSP Daily News (08 December 2015) ‘All Hands on Deck’ to Fight Skimmers in Florida. http://www.cspnet.com/category-news/services/articles/all-hands-deck-fight-skimmers-florida
² CSP Daily News (20 November 2015) Florida Legislation Designed to Fight Skimmers. http://www.cspnet.com/fuels-news-prices-analysis/fuels-technology-equipment/articles/florida-legislation-designed-fight
³ CIOMA Insider (June 11 2014) Pump Alarm Helps Catch Suspects Installing Skimmer,
In the July 15, 2015 Federal Register the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the 2015 underground storage tank regulation and the 2015 state program approval regulation. The revisions strengthen the 1988 federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations by increasing emphasis on properly operating and maintaining UST equipment
The EPA website offers a range of information about the new regulations aimed at UST owners and operators to help them understand what’s different about the 2015 revised UST regulations compared to the 1988 regulations.
The new regulations will impact secondary containment systems, operation and maintenance procedures, as well as a host of other areas. One particularly notable change is that the proposed regulations will no longer allow flow restrictors (a.k.a. ball float valves) in vent lines [Section IV.D.1]. New provisions for the operation and maintenance of USTs have been specified, including testing and detection requirements [Section IV.B.3] and testing requirements have been introduced for Spill Prevention Equipment [Section IV.B.2], Secondary Containment Areas [Section IV.B.4] and Release Detection Equipment, including Leak Line Detectors [Section IV.B.5].
Understanding the new EPA UST regulations can be a daunting task. Ensuring your business is in compliance with these new regulations today will prevent you from potential penalties in the future. Franklin Fueling Systems is the expert in underground petroleum systems and we have the solutions to help you not only meet today’s challenges, but also protect your investment in the future.
We've put together a simple guide to help you better understand the new regulations and the solutions we offer. Visit franklinfueling.com/ust-regs to receive your navigation guide to the UST Regulations.
This represents Franklin Fueling Systems sole interpretation of the latest UST Federal regulations. Although these are federal level regulations, you must be aware of varying State/Local/County regulations as well. Contact Franklin for detailed solutions and technical advice.
Franklin Fueling Systems is pleased to announce the opening of a new INCON™ manufacturing facility at our Madison, Wisconsin USA Global headquarters. The INCON™ manufacturing division is responsible for assembling our Fuel Management systems.
This new facility at the Madison global headquarters has been purpose-built to provide an environmentally controlled area for the building of electronics. All precautions have been taken to minimize static electricity build-up in the manufacturing space, including the procurement of Electrostatic Dissipative lab coats for the manufacturing staff and climate control for the workshop.
This clean environment allows precise testing of all INCON™ brand electronics, to ensure that all products that leave the facility are of the highest possible standard. By bringing our INCON™ facility under the same roof as our other manufacturing operations, Franklin hopes to streamline the distribution network and make it that much easier for customers all over the world to receive their orders as soon as possible.
Why is a controlled environment so important when working with sensitive electronics?
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the release of static electricity when two objects come into contact. This phenomenon is important in the technology world because the ESD sparks created when handling equipment can significantly damage sensitive electronic components within devices.
One ESD event should not disrupt equipment operation. However, repeated events will degrade internal components over time. A mere 100 volt electrostatic discharge can damage equipment to a point where it is immediately, or will eventually become, defective. This is a small number when we consider that the simple act of walking across a carpet can create 1,500 – 35,000 volts.
A human being can’t even detect an ESD spark until the charge is at least 3,000 volts. This means it’s possible that anyone could damage equipment just by handling it and not even know. One could even inflict latent damage, which wounds equipment but doesn’t disable the device. The defect may manifest itself at a later time, sometimes even months down the road, and paralyze the effectiveness of the electronic device.
Founded in 1944, Franklin Electric first started manufacturing submersible pumps for petroleum products in the 1960’s. Service stations in 1960 had shown no basic variation for 35 years, but they have changed a lot since then. We asked our product managers to give us insight into the trends that have affected service stations.
Filling stations have been around since 1888 in Germany; early filling stations were roadside dispensers using hand pumps. The first off-road canopied station was built in 1913 in the USA but these did not become widespread until the 1950s.
Once purpose-built sites were constructed off-road additional automotive products and services were added to create service stations. The first 24-hour convenience store opened in 1962. By 1971, only 6.8% of all convenience stores sold motor fuels; today, 83% of convenience stores sell fuels, and U.S. convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of all the motor fuels purchased in the country. In the early 1990s hypermarkets – large supermarkets, discounters and mass merchandisers like Walmart and Costco – begin to sell fuel. Today, there are approximately 5,000 hypermarket stores selling fuel, representing an estimated 12% of fuels sold in the USA.
The history of USA service stations shows a trend from basic filling stations, to service stations to convenience stores and eventually hypermarkets. It’s worth noting then that ‘service station’ has a different meaning in and out of the USA. In the USA a filling station that also offers services such as oil changes, free air for tires and mechanical repairs to automobiles is called a service station. Until the 1970s the vast majority of gas stations were service stations; now only a minority are. In the UK, a 'service station' refers to much larger facilities, usually attached to motorways, which provide food outlets, large parking areas, and often other services such as hotels and shops in addition to 24-hour fuel supplies and a higher standard of restrooms. UK service stations do not usually repair automobiles.
The first self-service dispensers were introduced in the USA in 1947, although they still required an attendant to reset the pumps after each fueling and also collect the money at the fueling island. By 1964 the first remote self-service station is created, eliminating the need for an attendant at the pump and ushering in the modern era of self-service fueling. By the 1970’s the majority of service stations were self-service. The design of dispensers also differs inside and out of the USA; in Europe and Australia the customer selects one of several color-coded nozzles depending on the fuel required, while in most stations in Canada and the USA the pump has a single nozzle and motorists select the desired product by pressing a button. In 1982 pay-at-pump is introduced in Europe and it introduced in the USA in 1986. Only 13% of convenience stores have the technology by 1994, but 80% of convenience stores are using the technology by 2002, and virtually all stores do today.
Piping and Containment
The construction of filling stations in terms of piping and containment from the early 1900s to the 1960s remained generally unchanged. Steel pipe was used for the product lines and fuel was delivered using hand pumps or suction pumps, depending on the location and the time of construction of the station. In the USA, when filling stations reached their end-of-life the entire area would be filled in with concrete and a new station built elsewhere.
By the 1980’s, steel pipe has been recognized as prone to corrosion. Steel pipe began to be replaced with fiberglass pipework in some areas. Fiberglass pipework proved difficult to join in hot or cold environments due to the messy glues and epoxy required, and could also be brittle. Eventually, semi-rigid pipework systems such as APT and UPP became increasingly popular. Lightweight, easy to install and featuring advanced electrofusion technology, semi-rigid pipework rapidly became regarded as industry standard in the UK, USA and parts of Europe. Many parts of the world still use steel pipework, particularly in countries with less stringent environmental protection laws, but the overall trend shows steel being phased out.
By 1960 submersible pumping equipment had grown to 28 to 30 percent of all pump sales. In 1988 Franklin Electric founded FE Petro, applying their submersible pump expertise to create submersible pumps for fuel products. In part due to the increasing popularity of submersible pumps and pressure systems IN 1995 FE Petro™ introduced variable speed submersible turbine pumps (STPs), the first of their kind for the petroleum industry. With faster fill times during peak hours and power savings during non-peak hours, FE Petro™ brand variable speed STPs allow station owners to maximize profits while minimizing operating expenses
After the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 in the USA, making the newly-established Environmental Protection Agency responsible for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality, service stations began to focus more on environmental obligations. In 1973 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues regulations calling for the incremental reduction of tetraethyl lead (TEL) in gasoline. TEL had helped reduce engine knock and spurred the way for the development of high-power, high-compression engines. Starting in 1975, U.S. automakers respond by equipping new cars with pollution-reducing catalytic converters designed to run only on unleaded fuel.
In 1988 in the USA underground storage regulations were passed, requiring all operators to upgrade their storage tank systems with spill-prevention and leak detection equipment within a decade. Tens of thousands of stations close their operations over the next decade rather than invest in the costly upgrades, while convenience store owners invest millions of dollars to ensure that their underground storage tanks are compliant with current regulations.This heralded a shift in mindset from annual checks to detect leaks to real-time leak prevention with Electronic Leak Detection systems and a move towards double wall pipework to prevent leaks.
The world’s largest tradeshow for convenience and fuel retailers, NACS / PEI 2015, is almost upon us (11-14 October) and the Franklin Fueling Systems staff is delighted to invite you to visit our booth #6218. This year’s event is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Today, the NACS Show attracts more than 22,000 attendees from more than 60 countries. Retailers rely on the NACS Show for proven ideas and strategies that enable them to increase sales, attract new customers, build their brand and improve their bottom line.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to see first-hand the newest innovations Franklin has to offer. Hear from the product managers behind the latest products and experience an in-booth event unlike any other.
For more details on how to register for PEI at the NACS tradeshow please visit www.pei.org/show/attend.
We look forward to meeting you at booth #6218.
For North and South America excluding Brasil.
Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia and India.
China, Australia, New Zealand and more.