Unless you’ve lived in a cave or driven an electric car, you know gasoline prices have risen to unprecedented heights, due to multiple factors that have been further exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine. .
It should come as no surprise, then, that new-vehicle buyers, already exhausted by supply shortages and ridiculous transaction prices, are buying more fuel-efficient rides again. Unfortunately, with so many models requiring premium 91 octane gasoline these days, a buyer might choose a higher mileage model, only to pay more to run it than a comparable vehicle that uses a good old regular 87 octane.
As of this writing, the national average for a gallon of regular gas is $4.24, while it costs $4.91 for premium. That’s a price differential of $0.67 per gallon, which can add up later. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Fuel Cost Calculator estimates that the difference between driving a vehicle that gets a combined mileage of 28 mpg for 15,000 annual miles would cost an extra $400 per year if it requires premium gasoline instead of regular gasoline. That’s $2,000 more over a five-year ownership period.
Choosing a “regular” car, truck or SUV has become difficult because the higher compression, direct fuel injection, turbocharged engines used in today’s vehicles often require premium quality to reach their maximum performance potential. This includes almost all luxury brand models and scorching sports cars, as well as several vehicles from traditional automakers like Chevrolet and Toyota.
There are, however, a few exceptions. For example, some versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger, most Chevrolet Camaros, and all Ford Mustangs (with the obvious exception of the all-electric Mach-e) run smoothly. Likewise with the Ford F-150 full-size pickup and Expedition SUV, as well as most versions of General Motors’ full-size pickups and SUVs, which one would expect to benefit from any sort of extra muscle. Likewise, there are also a limited number of bonafide luxury vehicles that still take 89 octane.
We’ve compiled separate lists of mainstream branded cars, trucks and SUVs for the 2022 model year that specify premium gasoline, as well as luxury cars that can save their owners money by driving regularly. .
Either way, if you’re shopping for a new vehicle or will be in the not-too-distant future, you’ll want to check ahead of time if the models you’re considering require regular or premium fuel. This information can be found for current and past models at the EPA fueleconomy.gov website, and it is also printed on a label affixed to the inside of the fuel filler door and is noted in the vehicle owner’s manual.
While today’s engines include a so-called knock sensor that can automatically change spark plug timing to safely accommodate lower octane fuel than is otherwise recommended, a car’s performance and fuel economy will be affected to some degree if its tank is filled with regular when premium is otherwise advised.
And it bears mentioning that there is absolutely no benefit to running a car on premium fuel if it is specifically designed to burn regular 89 octane gasoline.
Consumer cars, trucks and SUVs that run on premium fuel
- Chevy Camaro; 2.0-liter turbo, 6.2-liter V8, 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- Chevrolet Corvette; 6.2 liter V8
- Chevy Malibu; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Chevy Silverado; 6.2 liter V8
- Chevrolet Suburban; 6.2 liter V8
- Chevy Tahoe; 6.2 liter V8
- dodge challenger; 6.2L Supercharged V8, 6.4L V8
- dodge charger; 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- GMC Sierra; 6.2 liter V8
- GMC Yukon/Yukon XL: 6.2 liter V8
- Honda Civics; 1.5 liter turbo four
- Hyundai Elantra N; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Hyundai Kona N; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Hyundai Veloster N; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Jeep Grand Wagoner; 6.4 liter V8
- 4-Door Jeep Wrangler; 6.4 liter V8
- Kia Stinger; 2.5-litre turbo 4-cylinder, 3.3-litre turbo V6
- Mazda MX-5 Miata; 2.0 liter four
- MINI Cooper Clubman; 2.0 liter turbo four
- MINI Cooper Countryman; 1.5-litre turbo three, 2.0-litre turbo four
- MINI Cooper SE Countryman All4; 1.5 liter PHEV turbo three
- MINI Cooper hardtop and convertible; 1.5-litre turbo three, 2.0-litre turbo four
- Nissan Armada; 5.6 liter V8
- Nissan Maxima; 3.5 liter V6
- Nissan Titan; 5.6 liter V8
- Ram 1500; 6.2-liter supercharged V8
- Subaru BRZ; 2.4 liter four
- Subaru WRX; 2.4 liter turbo four
- Toyota GR86; 2.4 liter four
- Toyota GR Supra; 2.0-liter turbo four, 3.0-liter turbo V6—check
- volkswagen arteon; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Volkswagen Golf R; 2.0 liter turbo four
Luxury cars and SUVs running on regular gas
- Audi A3; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Audi Q3; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Audi TT; 2.0 liter turbo
- Cadillac XT5; 3.6 liter V6
- Cadillac XT6; 3.6 liter V6
- Lexus ES; four 2.5-litre hybrids; 3.5 liter V6
- Lexus NX; 2.5 liter four
- Lexus RX; 3.5 liter V6
- Lexus UX; 2.0 liter four, 2.0 liter hybrid four
- Lincoln Aviator; 3.0L V6, 3.0L PHEV V6
- Lincoln Corsair: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo; 2.3-liter turbo four, 2.5-liter PHEV four
- Lincoln Nautilus; 2.0 liter turbo four
- Lincoln Navigator; 3.5-liter V6 turbo
- Volvo XC40; 2.0 liter turbo four