By on June 1, 2015

Shell Station In Connecticut Circa August 2014

Starting Monday, your local Shell station will be offering a new grade of fuel said to increase engine life and boost efficiency, but at a price.

According to Shell researcher Ed Nelson, the company’s V-Power Nitro+ claims to add “protection against wear and corrosion to the detergents our gasoline already contains” by adhering to affected parts for better lubrication while keeping water in the gasoline from doing the same for reduced corrosion, Detroit Free Press reports. Nitro+ also claims to have more detergent to prevent waste buildup in the engine.

The new grade will replace the original V-Power premium fuel at Shell stations nationwide, while grades below Nitro+ will have lower quantities of the detergents and other chemicals used with the new premium fuel. No changes to octane are set to occur, though Shell is silent on how much more consumers will pay for Nitro+.

[Photo credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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80 Comments on “Shell Introduces New Nitro+ Premium Fuel Nationwide...”


  • avatar
    jjster6

    And the super wax at their car wash will remove dents and scratches, Slick 50 will mean you get 40% better fuel mileage, and Nitro + gas will also stop you from shifting into drive while rolling backward making the transmission immortal.

    Do I seem skeptical?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Ethanol free would sell well even with some price gouging.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d buy it

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If by “well” you mean “to a number of enthusiasts and garden equipment nerds who can probably be counted on two hands within the station’s service area.”

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Not really, a lot of people have been affected by Ethanol, and that includes many non-enthusiast, I’m sure it would do better than mid-grade at least. And with basically every home owner running small engines that are affected, and the large number of boats and ATV that require pure gas, it would do plenty well.
        I know my local hole in the wall sells more of the ethanol free than they do the regular, even at a $.20 premium. Or at least they did a year or so ago.

        Oh, and motorcycles.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          If complaints on internet forums were representative of the general population, we’d see 50% take rates on manuals, cheap tiny trucks, and a mass move back to port fuel injection.

          If enough people were being affected by ethanol to make a mass market for it, the ethanol mandate would be a major political issue. It’s not. It’s not even on the radar of anyone in politics.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “If enough people were being affected by ethanol to make a mass market for it, the ethanol mandate would be a major political issue. ”

            Last I checked, it is.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Ethanol subsidies are a political issue that at least gets enough attention to change politician behavior.

            Ethanol in gasoline is a different matter. I count several current or former close aides to politicians among my family and friends. I’ve never heard one of them reference the ethanol mandate, ever.

        • 0 avatar
          DevilsRotary86

          The Briggs and Stratton engine on my lawn mower seems to run just fine on ethanol gas. And I do everything you aren’t supposed to do with it; leave gas sitting over winter with no stabilizer. And it starts up each and every spring just fine.

          And it’s the same story for my dad’s OHC Honda lawn mower (yes, it’s a push mower with an OHC cylinder head. I did a double take too when I saw that) and 4-stroke weed whacker. None of them have ever had a problem with gasoline that used an ethanol additive.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @DevilsRotary86

            While I hate ethanol purely from an efficiency standpoint, the same is true for me as well. Even my ’69 Triumph Spitfire 1296 has run just fine on the stuff for eons, and you can’t even buy anything but e10 or higher in Maine. I’ve never even heard of a problem other than on random Internet forums.

          • 0 avatar
            RELove

            Yeah, well try a two-stroke engine.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        V-Power Nitro+ will sell better?

        Make it V-power Nitro+ 93 Ethanol Free and you’ll see to people who want 93 AND people who want ethanol free.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        So you call following manufacturer’s instructions being a “nerd”? Guess that makes me white & nerdy,because I use non-ethanol in every piece of power equipment that isnt designed for it, and in vehicles equipped with carbs (though I dont own any since I sold my Trooper).

        Ethanol ruins carbs, it causes them not to function properly, it eats away at the lines and seals, causing leaks. Its getting so that if you dont rebuild carbs yourself, its best to avoid them because there are times when ethanol-free isnt around and since so few people rebuild them and so many need rebuilding so often, its quite a hassel. And, no, spending $400+ on a new carb for a beat up rusty 1973 4wd hunting truck worth about $800 isnt smart either.

        At the closest store to me, they regularly sell out of ethanol-free (gas man comes every other week, or sooner if they run out). People put it in their boats, old cars, lawn equipment, ATVs, go carts, and water sports equipment (jet skis). More than just a couple of nerds, eh?

        Geeze, youre cynical. Rude and condecending, too.

        I like how you pretend that ethanol has nothing to do with politics. Everything the government does IS the very nature of politics! That includes “alternative energy” mandates.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to come across as rude. Cynical, maybe. I don’t think an ethanol-free pump at +20c over the premium price would sell more than a tiny fraction of what any pump in a gas station today sells.

          People who know anything about ethanol’s effects are a tiny minority.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            I suppose that is why the local stations here sell straight gas for people who don’t want to deal with E10 issues. Especially when it is humid and the ethanol collects moisture.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This.

      I’m not a chemist but as I understand you need some ethanol to keep water out of the gas – so if they offered E2 I’d be on that like white on rice.

      (will be gladly corrected on the impact ethanol has on reducing water in gasoline)

      • 0 avatar
        cwallace

        I’m not a chemist, either. But I believe part of the problem is that ethanol is hydrophilic, and so is the cause of water getting into the gas in the first place. I could be wrong, though- there is a first time for everything.

        So Shell will sell you something to correct the problem that the ethanol mandate causes. As mentioned way up above, I’d rather pay more to not have a problem at all than to get a problem and the solution both at the same time.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          “ethanol is hydrophilic, and so is the cause of water getting into the gas in the first place”

          Correct. This is why Ethanol has been such a problem for those of us with boats. Ethanol eats thru fuel lines and causes corrosion.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            “ethanol is hydrophilic, and so is the cause of water getting into the gas in the first place”

            Purely anecdotal, but I used to have to buy and add Heet here in Chicagoland to avoid the dreaded gas line freeze (yes, it happened to me, late at night, and cost me a tow to a warm service bay where nothing wrong was found). I’ve never added Heet once I realized that it was just the same ethanol already in the fuel, and I’ve never had the problem since.

      • 0 avatar
        STRATOS

        Ethanol makes the water blend in the gas rather than sinking to the bottom. That is all.Breaks up water but does not mean it removes it.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Ethanol increases the solubility of water in gasoline, meaning that when exposed to water, more water will get into & contaminate the fuel. A standard practice for piping & storing gasoline is to have a large tank and let it sit–water that gets into the system will sink to the bottom & the gasoline will float atop. Then you just drain the water out. The more ethanol is in the gasoline, the less effective this separation method is.

        On the plus side, however, is if you have water in your gas tank. Using a higher ethanol gasoline will permit the water to dissolve into the fuel so it will pass through the engine with minimal harm compared to injecting straight water.

        An interesting fact is that water & ethanol form an azeotrope, which is a mixture that has a lower boiling point than either component. That means simple distillation cannot fully separate the water. That’s a big reason contamination is a problem with ethanol.

    • 0 avatar
      STRATOS

      Shell v power is already ethanol free here in Canada.Even from different refineries.Ethanol blends cause corrosion and eat away at rubber hoses and does not store very well for extended periods.Other companies use ethanol as an octane booster.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        In many parts of the US, ethanol must be included by law for pollution control. For me, the nearest station selling ethanol-free gas is hundreds of miles away.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Sadly illegal to sell unadulterated gas in my state. Though rumor has it the legislature is discussing eliminating that requirement.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup there are a number of states where it is illegal to sell ethanol free gas at retail. A few states have an exemption for premium but in OR it can only be pumped into cars more than 25 years old.

        In other areas that border states with mandated ethanol end up with it by default since the distribution systems are linked and the fuel comes from a refinery in a state with an ethanol mandate.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I think you guys have it all wrong about ethanol.

      My Sienna ran “rough” whet I got a tank of 0% ethanol gas one time in Georgia. It runs smoothly on 10% ethanol or 89 octane gas.

      The engine in mi Sienna is shared with the Lexus ES300 of the same year. The Lexus manual says the engine requires 89 octane fuel, while the manual for my van says only 87 is required.

      When I put non-ethenol 87 octane gas it my van, it runs like a Toyota. When I put 89 octane fuel in my van, it runs as smoothly as a Lexus. The confound is that 87 octane fuel with ethanol in it behaves like 89 octane fuel in my van, and I live in the Midwest where ethanol is popular for its green-dollar benefits.

      My hypothesis is than the gasoline distributors start with 87 octane gasoline and then mix in ethanol — which acts kind of like an octane booster, helping to reduce early detonation. The knock sensor in my van is happy, which allows the ECU to puts the timing into Lexus mode, mwhich is great until I accidentally buy regular 100% dino-gasoline, and wetder WTF happened to my Lexus-smooth kid taxi.

      That’s my hypothesis, anyway. I could be wrong, but I find it believable enough to buy 89 octane gas if I can’t find the ethanol sticker on the pump.

      P.S. Yeah, yeah, yeah, the ethanol could rot my fuel lines. My car is new enough to be built out of modern materials, so I’m not going to worry about it. If I were driving at 80s classic, I’d be singing o different tune, but I drive cars from the 2000s at the moment, which isznew enough to use the good kind of rubber.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        All modern cars should have no problem with 10% ethanol. Fuel lines may need to be replaced every 50k mi instead of 60k mi (for example), but I don’t consider that a particular negative on the fuel.

        The octane ratings on the pump are minimums. You certainly can get higher actual values based on additives. Ethanol does raise the octane, so the question is whether the white gas (generic output from the refinery) already has the ethanol in it or not. Each brand takes the white gas–which could have been made anyone’s refinery–and adds their own special ingredients to then sell in their brand’s gas stations. Is ethanol one of those special ingredients? I didn’t find any references, but for logistics, adding the ethanol at the refinery would be much simpler than having a parallel supply of ethanol to a brand’s mixing facility.

  • avatar
    shaker

    It will also keep the intake valves on DI engines clean as well. (Edit: /sarcasm)

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      Not really, unless it also has port injectors, which most DI engines don’t.

      The problem with DI engines is that no fuel passes over the intake valves so there is nothing to clean the carbon which builds up as a result of oil spray from the PCV system.

      • 0 avatar
        dastanley

        I’m pretty sure the GM 2.4 Ecotec DI-Gasoline engine (like the one in our 2014 Chevy Equinox) allows for some valve overlap when the engine oil is cold in order to allow the intake valves to come into contact with a small amount of gasoline vapor, and hopefully the top tier detergent (usually an amine polymer found in Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Shell, etc). Once the oil is close to operating temperature, then the intake and exhaust cams VVT function alters cam timing to optimum running conditions. The idea is that during cold start and driving, the gasoline detergent will (hopefully) cover the intake valves just barely enough to keep them clean over time, at least until the engine warms up.

        Anyone who knows differently please correct me if I’m wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          ixim

          Much of the intake valve fouling is caused by burning crankcase blowby. Occasional nooning is believed to be helpful in knocking the deposits loose.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Nooning? You mean hooning?

            Also, rather than do that just put some SeaFoam in the crank case about 50 or so miles before you wanna change the oil.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            No, he did mean nooning. That’s what happens when you come home for lunch and your wife or girlfriend is there, too.

            It does help in knocking the deposits loose.

            Could be where the term “knocked up” came from.

          • 0 avatar
            ixim

            Nooning, nooning, both have worked for me. Seafoam in the crankcase? Thought it was strictly a fuel additive.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “That’s what happens when you come home for lunch and your wife or girlfriend is there, too.”

            I always thought that was afternoon delight.

            RE: Seafoam in crank case.
            It says you can do it right on the can too!

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          I’ll look into that – it may explain the crappy mileage I’ve been getting on short drives. I assumed that DI would be more efficient, because the temperature of the engine should be less of a factor.

  • avatar
    319583076

    But what are its huffing properties?

  • avatar
    WEGIV

    Since when did TTAC start re-publishing marketing press releases directly?

    USA Today, Edmunds, Cars.com, etc: “Shell to release…”

    TTAC: “Shell is releasing new fuel. Here is our [petro/auto industry insider | resident mechanic] to explain why it does [something | nothing] for your car. Next week we’ll feature a test where we drive the same car back to back with and without the new fuel to see if there’s actually any benefit to it or if it’s snake oil.”

  • avatar
    shaker

    Fine print: (ALLEGED:)

    These statements have not been evaluated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These products are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any engine or drivetrain problems, nor to increase your rated engine output over stock or provide increased MPG over the value arrived at by the EPA.

    Thank You

    Edit: It also carries the designation as a “Top Tear” Fuel (with prices so high, it’ll make you cry.)

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Early in my automotive engineering career (aka the 70s), I had a friend who worked for Standard Oil. When asked for advice on gasoline, he said “every seller cheats on the additives, but they all cheat on different ones and at different times…so the best advice is to rotate brands frequently”

    I wonder if that is still true today?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      That’s completely the opposite of what I have learned through those in the refining side.

      Each brand has their own strategy for additives, and those strategies are not necessarily compatible. For example, Brand A may use a detergent that dissolves any build up, while Brand B may use an additive that coats metal surfaces so deposits can’t take hold. Switching between A & B may result in breaking down B’s protective layer and/or blocking A’s ability to dissolve everything.

      Best performance is typically observed when using the same brand consistently.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Wait so now they’re gonna take away the 93 which I always buy at Shell, and make it 93N+, and charge me more for it. 93 at Shell was already higher than 93 at other stations.

    Sounds like I’ll be switching stations.

    • 0 avatar
      bjchase55

      I was just thinking the same thing. My car requires premium and I tend to use Shell stations. But if this new version has a cost increase of more than just a few pennies I may have to look elsewhere (unless by some chance it is still cheaper than other stations). This new version just screams Marketing BS to me.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        And I don’t NEED nitro in my fuel, it’s not something other people use, and not something the manufacturer designs when they make the car. You’re making me drink New Coke after I told you I liked it the way it was.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          “Nitro+ also claims to have more detergent to prevent waste buildup in the engine.”

          I took this to mean that it was aimed at direct injection systems that seem to be prone to deposits that interfere with proper operation. I’d want to see an independent evaluation before I jumped on it, tho.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      My regular station is a Shell station, and both my cars call for premium (which is usually 92 around here). But will I change? Probably not. The time and hassle of driving a few miles to another station, when it seems like every time I need gas I’m in a big hurry for some reason, won’t be worth it.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I want to buy gasoline made from algae. Even if it costs $8/gallon during the early years and never drops below $4. I suppose a premium algae blend would be suitable.

    The thought of endless carbon-neutral oil produced 100% domestically is alluring enough to make me imagine an America where the streets are paved with gold…..well, at least an America where concrete cancer and collapsing bridges are less of a concern.

    I’ll cut Chinese imports out of my budget so I have more money for fuel.

  • avatar
    TR4

    I say it’s largely a scam just like nitrogen in tires.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    I’m still holding out for the return of Platformate! That stuff was the real deal but was killed by the oil cartel!

  • avatar
    ixim

    More importantly, Shell gasoline is on the list of Top Tier gas which already has more detergent in all grades than non TT brands. GM and Honda recommend it for their DI engines. Will that still be the case?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    In So Fla, ethanol free reg gas is way more expensive than even premium top tier gas, what a rip-off!

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Why not just give us higher octane gas instead? Nitro premium fuel stinks of pseudoscience to me!

  • avatar

    I didn’t realize that Dodge Nitros needed their own grade of gas. I mean, they are just rebadged Patriots.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nitro was a Liberty rebadge, not a Patriot which is derived from a shared Mitsubishi GS platform.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Nitro

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_GS_platform

      Nitro FUN FACT: In early 2007, a TV advertisement in the U.S. for the Nitro with the tag line: “charged with adrenaline”, showed a dog getting electrocuted after touching the SUV’s front wheel. The ad gained a substantial amount of negative attention and was quickly pulled.[15][16]

  • avatar
    dastanley

    The active ingredient in the top tier detergents, such as Chevron Techron, Shell, Conoco-Phillips, etc. is an Amine Polymer,a light oil that penetrates the carbon buildup and slowly dissolves and breaks it off as the engine runs. Regardless of what the name is, such as Techron, V-Power, Pro-V, or whatever, it’s the Amine Polymer that makes it effective.

    Yes, the amount of detergents can vary from tankful to tankful, if for no other reason than equipment malfunction at the tanker loading docks. The ideal amount of detergent is roughly 1 ounce per 20-24 gallons, but Shell uses approximately one ounce per every 16 gallons in their V-Power (premium) grade.

    Even Brand X gasoline has detergent in it, which has been required by the EPA since 1996, but just enough to make it compliant with regs. So at Sams’ Club, Safeway, Go-Gas, etc., you are still getting some detergent – just not as much as the top tier proprietary brands. And as most of you know, the different brands’ gasoline generally comes from the same refinery, only the additive packages vary from brand to brand.

    As an interesting aside, fuel injector gunk buildup usually happens after engine shutdown. A small amount of fuel, tiny droplets, leak out of the injectors while the engine is going through the after shutdown heat soak. Those droplets slowly evaporate and bake, leaving carbon, gum, and varnish behind. That messes up the injector spray pattern after a while.

  • avatar

    Sometimes I wonder though. I’ve been using 87 regular in my X5 since that was all you could get in the aftermath of Sandy. I’ll be honest, the car runs perfectly and does not seem to have lost any significant amount of power. I’ll run 93 in the M car but the other car does not seem to mind.

    BTW in the rest of the world they have regular and premium, what’s the point of midgrade, just marketing and added cost and complication?

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve never had a problem with wear and corrosion in the combustion chamber of the car I drive every day.

  • avatar
    Aphidman

    Secret sauce!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I actually have to make my monthly fuel up today, and I’ll be interested to see the miraculous improvement this N+ fuel makes.

    Ugh.

  • avatar
    emeshuris

    So i dont know about gasoline, but to me it seems like less gasoline for more money.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Filled up yesterday, and I can report that here in Ohio, the N+ was .40 more than regular 87 fuel. That’s about .08 or .09 higher than the previous 93 premium fuel cost.

    …Now I’m waiting for my hugely improved fuel economy to make up the difference.

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