Do SUVs Need Premium Gas? (We Checked)

You’ll sometimes see the recommendation for premium fuel.

But is it really that different? And is it ever really necessary?

These are the answers to some common questions about premium gas and whether manufacturers require vehicle owners to put it into certain cars.

Check also: U.S. gas stations ranked.

Do SUVs Need Premium Gas?

Manufacturers recommend that some SUV models and luxury vehicles use premium gasoline in the engine. This strong recommendation suggests that such vehicles will perform at a much more productive capacity with premium fuel than without it. You can still operate the cars using regular gas, however.

The information on whether to use premium fuel is typically found in the owner’s manual that comes with the car.

If you cannot find the information there, you can check the online service manual or the extended paper manual.

The information might also be available inside your fuel filler door. Check for any indication that you should use a fuel type other than regular in your car.

What Is the Difference Between Regular and Premium Gas?

The primary difference between regular and premium gas is the octane content.

Octane is a chemical compound that controls how vulnerable a fuel is to cause a problem called detonation.

Detonation is a condition in which combustion occurs after the spark plugs have already fired. This problem can not only cause hard starts but also cause a vehicle to run roughly at other times. The more octane in the fuel, the better it handles detonation.

The condition that makes premium gas more effective in some vehicles is that those vehicles have overly high compression ratios.

Thus, premium gas serves no purpose for a person who does not have a high-compression car.

Some Harley-Davidsons need premium gas, though.

We also have some larger trucks that have special gas requirements. You can read here about what gas U-haul vehicles need.

Do Luxury SUVs Need Premium Gas?

Not all luxury cars require premium gas, but some of them do.

As mentioned before, the requirement has to do with the vehicle’s compression ratio and whether it’s high or not.

One luxury vehicle could look much classier than the other, but the less attractive one might need premium fuel.

Do the Car Brands Recommend Premium Gas for SUVs?

Some car brands and manufacturers strongly recommend that vehicle owners use a premium grade of gas in their cars.

You will be wise to use it if your owner’s manual suggests you do so.

Without the premium gas in a recommended car, you could experience subpar performance even though the vehicle will still technically operate. 

These are some answers for the top vehicle manufacturers and whether any of their vehicles take premium gas. Meanwhile, you should know whether European cars use special gas.

Does Mercedes Recommend Premium Gas for SUVs?

Mercedes typically recommends that all of its vehicles have premium gas in them. They advise vehicle owners to use 91-octane fuel.

Thus, you’ll be better off using this type of fuel whether you own a Mercedes SUV or a regular car, because the manufacturer designed the vehicles to operate more efficiently with it.

Does Audi Recommend Premium Gas for SUVs?

Audi recommends that many of its SUV models have premium gas put into them.

They typically recommend this type of gas for their vehicles with turbochargers. These are some of the most typical cars that run on premium gas:

Audi RS 6 Avant

The Audi RS6 Avant is a fantastic vehicle capable of great things. It has a four-cylinder V8 that produces more than 591 horsepower, and its compression ratio is said to be 10.5:1.

Audi Q7

The Audio Q7 is another SUV that needs 91 octane premium gas in it.

It has a 2.0-Liter, four-cylinder motor in it that produces about 260 horsepower.

The compression ratio for different models varies from 10.5:1 to as much as 16.8:1.

Does Lexus Recommend Premium Gas for SUVs?

Not all Lexus vehicles require premium gas. However, several SUV models need to have 91 octane gas in them.

These are some of the ones that you’ll need to put premium in if you grab hold of them:

The Lexus GX

The GX is a powerful vehicle that usually has a V8 motor, regardless of the trim. The compression ratio for the newest versions of these models is 10.2:1.

The Lexus RX Hybrid

The Lexus RX Hybrid is a certified low-emissions vehicle. Each trim level has a 3.5-liter motor, and the compression ratios vary between 11.8:1 and 13.0:1.

The Lexus NX

The Lexus NX model has 2.4 and 2.5-Liter motors that have horsepower variations from 203 to 300.

The compression ratio for all these vehicles is high, with the lowest being 11.0: 1 and the highest being 14.0: 1.

The above list is not an exhaustive one, and that means you might come across some other Lexus SUV models that need premium fuel.

What Other Manufacturer Has SUVs That Need Premium Gas?

Quite a few additional SUV models need to have premium gas in the tank to run efficiently.

These are a few of those models.

Cadillac XT6 AWD

The Cadillac XT6 is a gorgeous luxury SUV with all the features and sleek images an SUV enthusiast will love. The model has a 2.0-Liter turbo engine with the capacity to put out 235 to 310 horsepower.

The compression ratio on this model is approximately 11.5:1.

Infinity QX55

The Infinity QX55 sometimes qualifies as an SUV, requiring its users to put premium fuel in it. The model has a 2.0-Liter motor that delivers 268 horsepower.

The compression ratio in this model is as high as 14:1 in some trims.

Dodge Durango

Some versions of the Dodge Durango must run on premium gas only.

This order was 100 percent true in the 2018 models with the SR and SRT trims, and it’s still true today.

Thus, you’ll need to talk to your salesperson about what’s expected of you if you want to purchase a Durango and take care of it well.

Does Premium Gas Really Make a Difference?

Premium gas makes a difference in vehicles designed to run on it.

The difference it makes versus regular gas depends on whether the manufacturer recommends or commands vehicle owners to use 91 or 93 octane.

These problems can arise for a car that must use premium if the owner fills it with something else:

#1 Poor Fuel Efficiency

The wrong type of gas can affect your fuel efficiency and leave you with much less productivity than you would like.

One of the main reasons for using premium fuel is that the vehicle will run as efficiently as possible.

It’s not unusual for a car to run horribly after having the wrong grade of gas put into it. Therefore, you should be surprised if you experience issues like:

  • vibrating,
  • stuttering,
  • stalling,
  • or something similar.

#2 Slower Acceleration

You may notice that the vehicle doesn’t accelerate as quickly as you would like it to when you press the gas pedal.

The slow response is yet another issue that can occur if you don’t follow the recommendations for using premium gas.

#3 Hard Starting

Another problem you may have if you choose not to use premium gas is difficulty starting the vehicle.

The term for that issue is a hard start and it may be prevalent, depending on your fuel choices.

You’ll recognize a problem if your car makes strange noises and struggles to crank all the way over for a while.

#1 Knocking and Pinging Sounds

If you fail to use premium fuel where it’s due, you might experience signs of detonation in some very rare cases.

One of the most common signs of detonation is a knocking and pining sound coming from the engine.

Additional symptoms include drops in the exhaust gas temperature.

The worst of the symptoms may consist of broken spark plugs and damaged pistons. Thus, serious issues can occur due to someone ignoring the requirement for premium fuel.

Why Do Some Car Brands Recommend Premium Gas for SUVs?

Car brands recommend premium gas for SUV models for a variety of reasons.

These are some of the most common:

Better Fuel Efficiency

Premium gas improves fuel efficiency on SUVs with engines designed for that fuel. It’s always a good thing to improve your fuel efficiency.

Carbon Deposit Prevention

Using premium gas will prevent carbon deposits from collecting in the motor and protect your engine from early deterioration.

There are other reasons this type of fuel is recommended, but those are some of the most crucial.

You are now aware of the variation between premium and regular gas, why some companies recommend premium gas, and whether you should put premium gas in the car, you currently own.

Do the right thing and put the required type of gas in your vehicle, and your car should run smoothly for a long while.

Ping and Knock Prevention

Using premium gas will prevent harsh sounds like knocking and pinging if you use it in a vehicle the manufacturer designed for it.

Those sounds have to do¬†with detonation, which won’t occur if you use premium gas in certain cars.

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