New figures released this month show the average price of fuel is going up every week, hitting consumers – and more importantly, this industry – hard.

We can all recall the dark days at the turn of this century when the cost of diesel sky-rocketed, global news crews reporting on blockades at refineries and forcing hauliers – many of them family-run firms – out of business.

Thankfully, the industry managed to stabilize and fuel costs, barring the odd global financial crisis and Middle East conflict which has made them wobble.

With the average price of diesel currently standing at £132.3p (July 2018) and this expected to rise over the coming weeks, is it time to start preparing ourselves for a return to those dark days of the early 21st century?

The stark reality is – and something that has taken a back seat on the news agenda obsessed with Brexit plans – fuel prices will continue to rise and unscrupulous individuals will look at alternative ways of getting their hands on fuel.

According to Visual Capitalist, a black market of fuel theft is already on the rise in places like Nigeria and Mexico and is becoming more common in the European market. As it starts to creep in to the UK and mainland continent market, business owners will need to start at looking at protecting their bottom line.

Here are another couple of facts for you to digest. In 2015 more than £250,000 worth of fuel was stolen in the north west of England alone. In the same year, there were 20,000 commercial thefts of fuel in the UK, according to Fuel Oil News. Global accountancy giant Ernst & Young have estimated that £133bn worth of fuel is stolen every year around the world.

Some might argue the dark days never left us, fuel theft continues and fleet bosses are left with the headache of protecting their most valuable commodity and investing in devices which limit the impact of this crime.

And while this might be positive news for businesses which earn a living from the devices which decrease fuel theft, we have to face the growing reality that a storm is coming.