What Kind of Gas Does My Chevy Take?

June 2nd, 2022 by

What Type of Fuel Does My Chevy Run On?

Most Chevy engines are tuned to operate on regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87, delivering a capable performance at minimal cost. Even high-performance Chevy sports cars like the Camaro are usually rated for 87-octane gas, although some claim a performance boost out of higher-octane fuels. Chevy models with their most-powerful V-8 engines, like on some Silverado models, will require 93 octane.

The minimum octane rating for any vehicle will be listed in the owner’s manual or online. Vehicles that require premium gasoline will also indicate it on or near the gas cap. If your car takes premium fuel, please accept no substitutes. On the other hand, if you have a common or economy vehicle, there is usually no need to buy anything other than the least expensive conventional gas, which would be octane 87.

What Are the Three Types of Gasoline Fuel?

The three main types of standard gasoline are Regular (also called Regular Unleaded), Premium, and Premium Plus, or a similar naming scheme depending on your location. These three types are different ratios of the chemical octane within the selected gasoline fuel. Regular almost always has an octane rating of 87. Premium or Mid-Grade gasoline is 89 or 90 octane, and Premium Plus fuel ranges from 91 to 94 octane.

Almost every Chevy vehicle sold today is rated to use Regular fuel. You can expect such a model to pull out its best possible fuel economy and performance with Regular, as long as it’s rated to use it. Going higher may help or may not, but it’s generally unwise to go lower-octane than your car recommends.

What Is Octane and Why Does It Matter?

Octane is a substance that makes gasoline more heat resistant. One of the key elements to effective internal combustion is control, meaning that the fuel is only being burned in controlled moments from the spark plugs. The higher the octane rating, the more heat-resistant the fuel is, reducing the chance of spontaneous combustion interrupting the rhythm of the cylinders, also known as an engine knock. Engine knocks are loud and could cause permanent damage to an engine if they occur regularly.

Modern Chevy engines are designed to automatically compensate for combusted fuel and avoid engine knocks. That said, unintentionally combusting fuel is never a good thing, as it wastes the fuel and leads to compromised performance.

Is Switching to Premium Gas Worth It?

If your vehicle’s recommended gasoline is regular, 87-octane fuel, you might wonder what would happen if you put higher-quality gas in the tank next time. The majority of the time, the answer is nothing noticeable. Although higher-level gasoline is designed to reduce engine-knock risk, this is not a factor that most car engines would have to deal with very often. Said another way, it’s okay to go higher than recommended, and some say it makes a difference on performance-oriented cars, but it won’t make it feel like you’ve just bought a new Chevy.

What Is Diesel Fuel?

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Diesel is a separate type of fuel that goes in diesel engines as opposed to internal-combustion engines. Instead of spark plugs creating a spark, diesel engines ignite their fuel with heat and pressure. Diesel is commonly required for certain heavy-duty pickup trucks, like turbo-diesel versions of the Silverado and Colorado.

With these trucks and similar vehicles, either standard diesel fuel or E85 will work the same. Diesel vehicles cannot use traditional gasoline, and the results of mistakenly filling up a diesel car with gas can be catastrophic to the engine.

The Difference Between E85 and E15

Most gas stations don’t only sell pure gasoline, but also sell an ethanol biodiesel mixture. Ethanol is a biofuel made from corn or sugar cane, and it can be mixed partially with regular gasoline to create an effective alternative to diesel. E85, commonly known as Flex Fuel, is a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. E15, on the other hand, is the inverse of E85: 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol. It can be safely used as an eco-friendly alternative to Regular, 87-octane gas.

While using E85 in a regular engine will not cause it to break down, it will cause it to react slowly and perform poorly until you replace it with a lower-ethanol gas. Internal combustion engines are not designed for diesel. Always double-check the manual for your Chevy when unsure.

Can I Use Cheaper Gas to Save Money?

Some people with a vehicle that requires a higher standard of fuel might wonder if it’s a big deal to fill up with Regular. In truth, it depends. One thing is certain: if your vehicle is rated to use a certain octane of fuel and you go lower, you’re giving the engine a less-refined medium to work with than what the manufacturer intended. The effects can vary depending on the model and how well it has been taken care of over the years.

In short, using cheaper gas than a vehicle recommends is unlikely to save you any money. If you want to save money on gas, do it in the long run by picking a vehicle with better fuel mileage. Our fuel calculator page makes it easy to compare the fuel costs of two vehicles to see which one will save you more. We also let you combine lease or purchase costs to get an even more complete picture.

All told, most Chevy vehicles will be perfectly fine driving Regular gasoline, and though there isn’t much point, going higher is harmless unless stated otherwise. On the other side, picking a cheaper octane rating than recommended for your vehicle is generally unwise, due to impacted performance and more frequent need for engine service. If you’re curious about getting a new Chevy that saves you on ownership costs, contact Sweeney Chevrolet.

Image via Unsplash by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen

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