August 28, 2008

Fill-Up Early, Evacuate Early and Stretch Your Fuel

HOUSTON, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- With hurricane season here and Gustav heading toward the U.S., Shell Oil Products US and Motiva Enterprises LLC are encouraging consumers to prepare for potential evacuations and do their part to maximize fuel supply. During a hurricane, temporary and sporadic supply interruptions may be unavoidable; however, Shell and Motiva have put many systems in place from their offshore rigs to their retail stations to better maintain consistent supply of gasoline for consumers. There are also steps that consumers can take during a Hurricane Watch to prepare their vehicle, stretch their fuel and help maintain supply during a crisis.

"We typically see the most significant increases in fuel purchases less than 24 hours before a hurricane is set to make landfall. This last minute surge in fuel purchases can cause temporary and sporadic outages, so we encourage our employees and our customers to fill up early and often," said David Sexton, president of Shell Oil Products US. "To help better manage fuel demand in your area, fill your tank up when a Hurricane Watch is announced, typically 36 hours prior to landfall. Early fill ups help us better understand demand and allow us to replenish stations before the storm hits."

In addition, the Texas Fuel Emergency Operations Center encourages the public to maintain half-full tanks during the hurricane season. They also suggest that drivers keep their tanks full when a storm has entered the Gulf of Mexico, while there is still time for the industry to re-supply the fuel system. The goal is avoiding sudden depletion of fuel during evacuation or while emergency operations are underway.

HURRICANE WATCH -- Prepare your Car and Stretch Your Fuel

Regulated by the Emergency Alert System, a Hurricane Watch typically is issued for a specified coastal area in which a hurricane or a hurricane-related hazard is a possible threat within 36 hours. Along with filling up early, consumers can adopt more fuel-efficient driving techniques and vehicle maintenance tips while planning for an evacuation. Below are a few tips on how to best prepare your vehicle and stretch your fuel before an evacuation.

-- Plan escape routes. Know the official evacuation route(s). Have a map handy, and tune into your local emergency broadcast radio station.

-- Fill up your gasoline tank early to help prevent sudden overloads on fuel supply in your area, and conserve the amount of gasoline used for the next 36 hours by reducing the amount of daily driving. Combine your errands into one outing to avoid multiple trips. Avoid traveling during rush hours if possible.

-- Replace dirty or clogged air filters. Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter with a clean one can improve gasoline mileage by as much as 10 percent.

-- Make sure your tires are at the correct pressure and not over or under inflated. Keeping tires at the correct pressure can improve your gasoline mileage by about 3 percent.

-- Always use the recommended grade of oil in your engine. Following your manufacturer's motor oil recommendation can improve gasoline mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to ensure it contains friction-reducing additives.

-- If time allows, visit your regular mechanic for a check up of all key fluids like engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. This will better ensure that long periods of travel don't result in car failure.

HURRICANE WARNING -- Leave Early and Stretch your Fuel

Also regulated by the Emergency Alert System, a hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher is expected to make landfall in 24 hours or less. An evacuation can be conducted in a well-organized manner by heeding the advice of local officials to leave early and by taking proper precautions for your vehicle. If the hurricane reaches Category 2 status, most states will order a mandatory coastal evacuation. You should complete your storm preparations and leave when directed. Consider some simple tips when evacuating:

-- Leave early. If an evacuation is issued for your area, leave as soon as possible. Driving during the cooler parts of the day will make the trip easier on your vehicle and its riders. Reducing the amount of air conditioning used can increase fuel efficiency by as much as two miles per gallon under certain speed and operating conditions.

-- Fuel before you go. Fueling vehicles before setting out on the road can help eliminate unnecessary stops and reduce traffic at stations along the original evacuation routes, allowing oil and gas companies more efficient re-supply of impacted areas.

-- Stretch your fuel. Good driving habits can increase your fuel efficiency significantly.

-- Drive smoothly, avoiding heavy acceleration or braking. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking can lower your gasoline mileage by 5 percent at lower speeds and by 33 percent at higher highway speeds.

-- Use cruise control on major roads and in free-flowing traffic. Maintaining a constant speed can improve gasoline mileage. Gasoline mileage usually decreases when driving at speeds over 60 mph.

-- Avoid idling. When you idle, you get 0 miles per gallon although your car is still using fuel. It is better to turn your vehicle off in situations where you are idling for an extended amount of time.

Regardless of whether you are in a hurricane area or not, practice fuel conservation to help protect fuel supply consistency and reduce emissions. For other driving and safety tips, visit the Shell FuelStretch Web site at

To better prepare yourself and your home for a hurricane, visit

Shell Oil Company, including its consolidated companies and its share in equity companies, is one of America's leading oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers. Shell, a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, is a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology. Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Shell Group, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies, employing approximately 108,000 people and operating in more than 130 countries and territories.

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