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Tesla-based ride service newest perk for Shell employees in Houston

From left, Shell workers Adam Harrison, Dakota Stormer and Natasha Qamar take a demo ride in an ElecTrip vehicle.Photo: Juan Figueroa, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Royal Dutch Shell makes its money selling oil, gasoline and other petroleum products. But when it comes to its employees traveling between Houston and other major Texas cities, how does one of the world’s largest oil companies transport them?

Electric cars.

Earlier this week, Shell approved $40,000 in vouchers for employees to use ElecTrip, a Tesla-based ride-sharing service headquartered in Houston. The vouchers will pay for about 400 zero-emission rides to meetings in Austin, Dallas San Antonio and other Texas cities.

Observers might view an oil company supporting one of the biggest threats to its business as ironic, but experts say that the Shell program is not as self-defeating as it might seem. As the oil and gas industry prepares for a low-carbon future, major companies are investing in ventures that might diversify and support their businesses as demand for fossil fuels declines in the face of efforts to slow climate change, said Ben Kellison, an analyst at the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie.

[email protected]/sergiochapa

Sergio Chapa covers the oil & gas industry for the Houston Chronicle and writes for Texas Inc., a weekly Monday insert dedicated to covering the most powerful business leaders in Texas. Sergio was born and raised in the Lone Star State and studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He previously worked at the San Antonio Business Journal, KGBT-TV in the Rio Grande Valley and Al Día in Dallas.

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