While some gas stations are still awaiting an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on E15 FlexFuel sales past May 20, Shell Oil is banking on customers’ ability to pay more for a premium performance fuel.
With marketing fanfare involving a launch event at Lavan 641 in New York with baseball hall of famer Reggie Jackson, Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn and race car driver Marc Gene, Shell Oil Products US on May 12 launched an improved formulation of Shell V-Power NiTro+ Premium Gasoline.
Shell also is running a special rewards promotion, offering additional 5 cents and 7 cents off per gallon of V-Power NiTRO+ for silver and gold member, according to its website. The premium performance fuel was priced at $5.41 per gallon, about $1 more per gallon than unleaded at Shell stations in the Chicago suburbs May 15, CSP Daily News found.
At the lower end of the price spectrum, E15 often sells at a price discount of 20 cents or more per gallon from regular unleaded, but it is uncertain whether the biofuel will be sold after May 20 in states without Reformulated Gasoline Programs. The EPA issued an emergency waiver from the summer restrictions on May 2, but these will expire on May 20 unless the agency extends the waiver.
As of Monday, the federal government hadn’t made a decision, according to an email the EPA sent to CSP Daily News. Concerns that E15, a biofuel made of gasoline blended with 10.5% to 15% ethanol, contributes to smog in the summer in some areas led the EPA to restrict sales during the summer.
Shell’s new V-Power NiTRO+ premium fuel, which is available at about 13,000 Shell stations nationwide, is marketed as a clean fuel, one designed to remove gunk from car engines and keep fuel injectors and other engine parts clean.
“The new Shell V-Power NiTRO+ is our highest-performing fuel yet,” said Selda Gunsel, vice president of fuels and lubricants technology. “We set out on the journey because we know our customers care about driving their vehicles with fuel that helps keep their engines in peak performance.”
The premium fuel, which is available at about 13,000 Shell stations nationwide, is designed to remove gunk, protect cars from carbon deposits and corrosion, and keep fuel injectors and other engine parts clean. The fuel contains six times the cleaning agents federal standards require, the company said.
“When developing a fuel focused on performance, we wanted to concentrate on the fuel injector—the area where performance lives or dies," Gunsel said. “Tackling this challenge was an exciting opportunity for us to provide our customers with a fuel that helps their engines achieve the maximum performance and protection benefits.”
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