Mixed Messages

This morning, I filled up my car, as I often do, at the Shell station near my house. I use Shell not because I think they’re a wonderful petroleum company (are there any?) but because it’s the closest to my house. As I often do, as I fill up, my mind wanders to pretty much anything my eyes land on, including the advertising on the pump itself. Which got me to thinking, as I often do, about the mixed messages on that pump. Consider the following.

vpower.jpgThe industry has been trying to tell us that it cares about the environment and, because it cares, it adds up to as much as 10% ethanol to our fuel. If you believe the ethanol industry, ethanol is much better environmentally, and should be encouraged if, indeed, you are the sort of person who cares about the environment.

Shell has three different grades of gasoline (click on the thumbnail image for a full-sized image). Bronze, for the cheapskates among us, contains up to 10% ethanol. Silver, for those who want to show they can afford a better gasoline, contains only 5%. Finally, for those who thrive on conspicuous consumption, or who just can’t ignore the advertized claims, there’s V-Power, which contains NO ethanol whatsoever.

V-Power is, of course, the most expensive gasoline. If you purchase V-Power, you also get 10 times the bonus Air Miles vs 3 times for the lesser gasoline. V-Power also, apparently, means less engine gunk.

The trouble with all this is that on one hand, you’re supposed to believe that the responsible choice is to buy the gasoline with the highest concentration of ethanol. Meanwhile Shell tells us that the quality stuff is the pure untainted gasoline.

So, do you want to be environmentally friendly, doing your part for the environment, etc, etc, or do you want to be a schmuck but get the good stuff that only a true gasoline connoisseur can appreciate?

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