Shell to charge customers extra for "CO2 neutral" refueling

Shell Coolcaesar/Wikimedia Commons

From next week Wednesday, Shell will offer customers in the Netherlands the option to pay one cent extra per liter of fuel. The Dutch oil and gas giant will then use that extra money to compensate for CO2 emissions. "This offers customers in the Netherlands an interim solution as long as electric driving is not yet affordable for everyone", Marjan van Loon, director of Shell Nederland, said to NOS.

According to Shell, that one extra cent per liter is enough to drive in a "CO2 neutral" way. The voluntary contribution from customers will be invested in CO2 compensation projects, such as planting trees in Peru and Indonesia. The company invests abroad in such projects because the Netherlands does not yet have a certified CO2 compensation system, Shell said.

In order to do something climate-positive in the Netherlands too, Shell is teaming up with nature conservation service Staatsbosbeheer to plant over 5 million trees in the next 12 years. For this purpose, Shell is investing more than 17 million euros in a Staatsbosbeheer fund. With this collaboration, Staatsbosbeheer will be able to plant new trees in empty spots in forests, Sylvo Thijsen of the service said. 

Follow This, a group of Shell shareholders who want the company to be more sustainable, is cautiously optimistic about this move. "It's nice as a temporary solution, but ultimately we have to completely stop using fossil fuels", Mark van Baal of Follow This said to NOS. "It is better if companies give customers a completely sustainable solution. And it should not be an excuse for oil companies to say: 'we offered it, but customers do not want it'. I do, however, encourage customers to pay extra, to show how important you think it is."

Shell wants to invest between 1 billion and 2 billion euros per year into renewable energy this year and next year, according to NOS. Last year the company invested around 26 billion euros in oil and gas worldwide. 

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