Petrol or gasoline is assessed, categorised and sold by an octane rating. Generally, in most areas of the world, the Research Octane Number (RON) is used, but in North America, the Anti-Knock Index (AKI) is used. Conventional 'standard' "Premium Unleaded" petrol in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia has an octane rating of 95 RON, and in North America it is AKI/RdON/PON 91-93 (RON 96–98). However, higher octane "Super Unleaded" - often formulated with higher quality additives, is usually set at around 98 RON in mainland Europe; but this can vary by market. Most oil/petroleum companies now 'market' their own Super Unleaded petrols under a unique name - and the current name for Shell Super Unleaded fuel is "V-Power". Like most Super Unleaded petrols, V-Power also contains higher concentrations of detergents and other additives to help clean the engine and smooth its operation.
In the United Kingdom and Denmark (where Super Unleaded must be a minimum of 97 RON), V-Power has a rating of 99 RON (whereas V-Powers' predecessor Shell Optimax was rated at 98 RON). There is one other 99 RON fuel available in the UK, namely Tesco MOMENTUM99.
In The Netherlands, V-Power has a 95 RON rating, although officials from Shell stated it is effective 97 RON, but classes are limited to 92 RON, 95 RON, 98 RON and 100 RON.
In Australia, from October 2006, Shell and Coles Express re-branded Optimax to V-Power (98 RON). V-Power Racing, the ultra-high performance variant has a rating of 100 RON although as of July[when?] this is being phased out, instead recommending V-Power. The previously obtainable higher grade V-Power Racing which contained 5% ethanol to boost V-Power's octane rating to 100 RON has now been phased out by Shell due to a "changing market".
In the United States (U.S.), at around 2004, all U.S. Shell gas "Premium" was rebranded as "V-Power". In 2008, Shell in the U.S. launched the new Nitrogen-Enriched Shell V-Power.
In Canada, from June 2005, Shell Canada re-branded Optimax Gold to V-Power.
In Hong Kong, as there is no oil refinery plant located in Hong Kong, Gasoline was imported from Singapore, which is 98 RON. However, V-Power sold in gas stations rumored reach 107 RON (the highest native RON for consumer grade commercial petrol across worldwide). Such figure is not supported by actual test, nor is it confirmed by Shell and which is contradicted from a reading material for Legislators of Legislative Council.
In New Zealand, from 2007, Shell rebranded 95 Premium Unleaded as V-Power. It is still rated at 95 RON.
V-Power Diesel is Shell's version of an enhanced diesel fuel, similar, say to BPs 'Ultimate Diesel'. Like BP Ultimate Diesel, Shell V-Power Diesel is designed for modern compression-ignition diesel engines, to facilitate enhanced engine performance along with increased engine protection, for more consistent operation and engine longevity.
V-Power Diesel is a blend of regular petroleum-based diesel and synthetic diesel, created using gas to liquids (GTL), along with some extra additives designed to clean the injection system and improve injection pump and injector lubricity.
One characteristic of V-Power diesel is that it is a lot clearer and odourless than normal diesel, mainly due to the synthetic GTL component.
The fuel is slightly less dense than regular diesel so, per volume, the unit energy is actually lower than regular diesel. This is offset, as the fuel tends to ignite more readily (and thus has a higher cetane rating) than regular diesel, and a side benefit of this is that it tends to produce less soot during combustion.
Anecdotal evidence shows that its performance varies depending on how an engine is set up. In most cases, it will make a rough-sounding engine run noticeably smoother, and can also alter the performance characteristics; typically some low-end torque is lost, but performance in the middle of the rev range and above is increased. In some engines however, particularly well-tuned common rail turbodiesels, very little effect can be seen or felt.
Although the former is true for the European market, Shell also markets a different "premium" diesel in Canada, which they state "Is specially formulated for year-round Canadian weather conditions, with a cetane improver, a de-icer and a corrosion inhibitor." but Shell also states that V-Power diesel will typically have an increased cetane rating of 1 to 2 points over standard diesel, which meets Transport Canada's minimum mandated rating of 40. It also contains no GTL components at all.
- Dutch discussion with Shell about RON rating, accessed May 2008
- http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr05-06/english/panels/es/papers/es0424cb1-1303-3e.pdf Retrieved at May 1, 2010
- http://www.st1.se/st1/main.nsf/pages/V_Power?open Retrieved at July 1, 2011
- "Shell V-Power Diesel - Advanced performance fuel". Shell.co.uk. http://www.shell.co.uk/home/content/gbr/products_services/on_the_road/fuels/v_power_diesel_tpkg/. Retrieved 15 February 2010. Shell.com -
- "Shell V-Power Diesel". Shell.com. http://www.shell.ca/home/content/can-en/products_services/on_the_road/fuels/shell_vpower_diesel/. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- "Shell's email reply to Canadian Cetane Rating". TDIClub. http://forums.tdiclub.com/showpost.php?p=2218805&postcount=31. Retrieved June 13, 2010.