These valves are clean, but after a while carbon deposits can build on them and create problems for your engine. Shell's Nitrogen Enriched Gasoline attempts to solve the problem of gunk.

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Nitrogen-enriched Gasoline and Engine Gunk

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­A ­gasoline engine generates power through internal combustion. During this process, a series of pistons compress and ignite a mixture of air and a high-energy fuel (like gasoline) in a very small space, creating the energy necessary to move your car forward.

We'll talk in very general terms here, but the amount of gasoline and air that ignites within your engine determines how much power your engine produces. A set of valves help regulate how much of the air and fuel mixture is allowed to enter the combustion chamber at the top of each cylinder. These valves act like small manhole covers that open and close at precisely the right times to allow the engine to cycle properly. Here's how it happens: One set of valves opens to allow the air and fuel mixture to flow into the combustion chamber, then the chamber is sealed while the volatile mixture is compressed and ignited. The final step is when a second set of valves opens to release the exhaust gasses from the chamber and then the whole process begins again. A rotating camshaft applies pressure to each valve when it's time to let fuel in and also when it's time to let the exhaust out. So, when you step on your gas pedal, you're technically controlling how much air and fuel those valves will let in. The valves, as you'll see, are an important part of your car's engine, and they're performance is integral to the overall performance of your car.

A major byproduct of combustion is carbon deposit build-up, or what Shell has hereby dubbed in their ad campaign "gunk." Gunk is essentially what it sounds like -- it's black soot that can harden on the cylinders, pistons and valves of an engine. If too much collects, this gunk can negatively affect engine performance, causing your car to burn more oil, overheat and even burn gasoline less efficiently. Valves inside an engine are designed to let in a specific amount of air and fuel, and when this process is interrupted by carbon deposit build-up, your car won't be performing up to its potential.

So what does Shell's nitrogen-enriched gasoline have to do with this? The nitrogen formula in this specific type of gas functions as a detergent. Special detergents or additives are added to fuels to help clean engines. When Shell's nitrogen-enriched gasoline runs through your engine, it passes over and comes into contact with the system's valves. Shell claims that nitrogen-enriched molecules chemically react with carbon deposits that have collected on the valves. These nitrogen-enriched molecules then clean the valves and permit maximum gasoline and air compression within the cylinder.

So, is Shell's nitrogen-enriched gasoline a big deal? Is it really something to get excited about? Shell certainly seems to think so. Read the next page to find out why.