Nitrogen Enriched Gasoline

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Nitrogen Enriched Gasoline's – What Are They and What Do They Do

Shell Oil has recently begun advertising their Shell V-Power “Nitrogen Enriched” Gasoline. Why would nitrogen improve the cleaning performance of gasoline detergent?

Here are some facts to consider:

  1.     The earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% nitrogen

  2.     Nitrogen is an inert gas that is not combustible

  3.     Nitrogen atoms are larger than oxygen atoms

  4.     Nitrogen when combusted with fuel and Oxygen creates Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)

  5.     NOx when combined with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) creates petrochemical smog.

Shell claims that fusing (their term) nitrogen with their detergent creates a more stable, longer lasting detergent that will be more effective in preventing gunk (their term) deposits (my term) from building up on the valves and other combustion chamber areas.

It would seem to me that adding Nitrogen will make the combustion process less efficient and could possibly lower combustion temperatures. This would seem to be the opposite of the desired effect.

It would also seem that adding Nitrogen could raise the NOx emissions from the engine which would tend to increase smog production, again the opposite of the desired effect.

I definitely applaud the idea of raising detergent levels in all gasolines. This is a quick and inexpensive way to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.

I think the whole Nitrogen thing is nothing other than another marketing ploy. Shell and many other refiners have attempted to convince the consumer that they are doing something unique and wonderful, when in reality they simply want to sell more and or charge more than their competitors.

Shell needs fewer “Cutesy” TV commercials and more science, or at least they should provide some documentation to support their claims.

If you want to do the best thing for your gasoline powered vehicle, look for fuels containing “Top Tier” fuel additives used at the manufactures “Top Tier” levels or simply purchase and regularly use aftermarket “tank additives” that meet or exceed the “Top Tier’ requirements. This together with proper maintenance will ensure peak performance and minimum emissions from your engine.

Please let me know what you think, post your comments, ideas, and suggestions here.

Diesel Doctor

Copyright 2009 – William Richards


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Last modified: 04/06/09
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