Shell dealers could face having to install new tanks and pipework if they want to sell the new premium fuel V-Power diesel, launched last month on 31 co-owned forecourts in the south east. The new diesel is retailing at 6ppl more than standard diesel, and Shell claims it is the first UK fuel to use a synthetic component made from natural gas.

John Rasmussen, director of Shell Retail in the UK, said the company was investing £15m in the launch and would offer the product across its entire branded network once supply and logistics issues had been resolved - not likely for dealers until the latter part of 2007: "Until now we’ve generally pursued a two-to-one strategy - two grades petrol and one grade diesel - so there will be some work to do accommodate the extra grade."

Gloucestershire-based Guy Warner said: "V-Power petrol now accounts for around 8% of our volume and the marketplace is moving towards higher performance diesel cars.

"The infrastructure would be a bit of a challenge, but I’m not looking at it with contempt."

Justin Taylor, general manager at Winford Road Garage near Bristol, said he would definitely invest in some site adjustments to sell V-Power diesel.