Motorists will have to pre-pay for their fuel by 2011 due to a rise in theft.
The soaring cost of unleaded and diesel has seen an increase in instances of people driving off from forecourts without paying.
The prepay system, where drivers have to swipe a debit or credit card at the pump before they can get any petrol, is already used widely in the USA.
The amount the driver has spent is automatically deducted from the swiped card, making it impossible not to pay for filling up.
Some UK forecourts already have the prepay system, particularly those at supermarkets, but Britain has not rushed to introduce the system because around one in three drivers still pays in cash.
Petrol Retailers Association boss Ray Holloway said: 'The industry's fuel theft bill has risen by several million pounds a year recently. One forecourt owner told us he was losing around £1400 a month.'
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