Saturday, October 18, 2003

What's the buzz?

Shell will test high-grade gas

For at least the third time in the last two years, Greater Cincinnati is again serving as a test market for a new product offering from Shell Oil.

This time, it is a higher grade of gasoline called V-Power, which purports to make engines yield more power..

"Cincinnati is an ideal test market because the local petroleum market is highly competitive and the media environment is contained, which allows us to evaluate marketing concepts and closely monitor consumer response and purchase behavior," said Russell Caplan, vice president of retail for Shell Oil Products US. "In addition, Shell has a strong presence in Cincinnati and a network of site operators that are dedicated to meeting customer needs."

The new gas has a 93 octane rating, and will be priced at the same level of other premium gas blends, company officials say.

The test program began Monday, and will continue through the end of the year. Shell is also testing the new blend in the New Orleans area.

In the past two years, Shell has also tested a quick-pay key tag program along with a partnership with AAA Cincinnati, which allowed customers to earn points toward a new membership by buying gas at Shell.

James Pilcher

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