It should go without saying that you shouldn’t steal gas but you might be surprised to learn how many people out there need to be reminded of such important trivia along with other gems like how important it is to wear pants in public and the importance of checking loaded firearms without staring directly down the barrel. We don’t have any scientific data or surveys to back up that claim. We just have this from Jalopnik about a recurring problem: people who try to steal gasoline while holding a lit cigarette.
The latest incident happened in Portland, Ore. in which a 62-year-old smoker really needed to get some gas for his car but also really needed a cigarette and decided to do some multitasking. So he tried to siphon some gas from a nearby car and accidentally set the car and himself on fire in the process. The same thing happened earlier this month in Australia and the whole thing was caught on a closed circuit television to warn other would-be gas thieves about the importance of not smoking while siphoning gas. Seriously, do we need a McGruff-like mascot for this issue? Unfortunately, a mascot called “Smokey” is already taken.
Of course, people who consider stealing gas as a viable transportation solution probably can’t think that far ahead. They aren’t bright enough to know that most couches have enough loose change in them to buy a decent amount gas or they can call in a favor from that friend they drove to their court ordered drug test for committing the same exact crime. We’re not really dealing with Rhodes scholars here.