Shell president John Hofmeister is touring the country as part of a 50-city dog-and-pony show to explain high gas prices and listen to consumer concerns about the oil industry, the environment and just about anything else on the minds of his customers. It's a bold move, considering the public sentiment toward big oil. But I'm personally aware of Shell's efforts to strike a green chord in the hearts and minds of the public. I get calls or emails from Shell representatives every week, offering to supply information. It is a very efficient operation.

In a recent wide-ranging interview with the San Antonio Express News, Hofmeister offered his companies views on a number of topics, including the infrastructure changes needed to accommodate E85.

"Do customers want E85? We don't know the answer to that yet?" said Hofmeister, noting that consumers see the high cost of E85 and are realizing that the fuel economy is less.

Hofmeister said Shell's position on the source of E85 fuel is clear: the expressed preference is cellulosic ethanol but notes there is no large-scale effort from this segment. Hofmeister says he's concerned about food prices going up if corn is used to produce E85.

On another note, Hofmeister said if subsidies weren't available, then ethanol would be far less popular.

[Source: Vicki Vaughan / San Antonio Express News]

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