Shell announces new nitrogen-enhanced gasoline

Starting Monday, all Shell gas stations will be pumping a new fuel: Shell's nitrogen-enhanced gasoline. It's not revolutionary, but it is a step toward cleaner, better-running engines.

Shell's fuel experts.
Shell announce a major change to its gasoline products.Photo by Shell

Starting today, all Shell gas stations will be pumping a new fuel: Shell's nitrogen-enhanced gasoline.

Before you start speculating about the wonder fuel of tomorrow, understand that this nitrogen-enriched gasoline differs from the gas Shell was pumping yesterday in its engine-cleaning detergents and additives.

Shell claims that its nitrogen-enriched gasoline cleans better than before and protects better against engine buildup. Of note, all three grades of gasoline will contain the nitrogen-enriched detergents, with its V-Power premium grade containing five times the government-mandated amount. The results are fewer intake deposits, cleaner combustion chambers, and less fuel injector fouling and intake valve sticking.

Citing the rising complexity of new direct-injected and hybridized engines, Shell also claims that this new fuel is better suited to the rigors of modern drive trains.

Considering that detergents and additives are federally mandated in the United States, and just about every brand of gasoline being pumped today makes some mention of the power of their detergents, we don't see Shell's gas as being very revolutionary. We're also inclined to believe that the "nitrogen enhanced" title is more of a gimmick than anything else. However, any step toward cleaner, better-running engines is a good one in our book.

Shell stated that it didn't expect this new nitrogen-enhanced gasoline to result in an increase in fuel price. But with gas prices being set by individual stations and changing daily, that will be nearly impossible to measure.