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Shell launching new retail fuel pilot programs in U.S.

Royal Dutch Shell is the U.S. leader in retail fuel sales and now Shell is launching new American pilot programs so people can fill up almost anywhere or charge their electric vehicles.

First Shell will pilot its new “Shell TapUp” app-based program in Houston where it will take fueling trucks to its customers to fill their tanks. The program started in the Netherlands and is now coming to the U.S.

Shell will start offering the service to its employees and to other businesses so vehicles are filled up in their company parking lots. Then, Shell aims to eventually expand to all customers so people can get fuel while they’re shopping at the grocery or dining at a restaurant. Shell won’t come to your house; the goal is to service multiple customers at a time in larger parking lot or garage settings.

Even though Shell has more than 14,000 U.S. gas stations in all 50 states, people still like having options and convenience, said Istvan Kapitany, Shell’s executive vice president of global retail.

“We are here to offer choices to our customers,” Kapitany said.

There are other fuel delivery app programs in the U.S. like Filld, Booster and WeFuel, but they are independent companies that are still trying to make names for themselves.

More than 30 percent of Shell’s worldwide fueling stations are in the U.S., and Kapitany contends that Shell has a large loyalty base with its premium V-Power fuels and its popular Fuel Rewards program.

Shell also is tackling the challenge of powering electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, starting in California where they’re most popular in the U.S. Shell already has two hydrogen stations in California with plans to open seven more in the state.

Shell also is about to launch a new electric charging pilot program in California with fast-charging capabilities to power up an EV in about five minutes, Kapitany said.

Shell aspires to keep expanding, but Kapitany said it is taking its time to ensure there’s enough customer demand. Shell already has larger EV-charging programs in much of Europe and even in China.

“You just don’t know what will happen, so we take small steps to learn,” Kapitany said.

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