At the time of writing this article the average price of premium fuel in America is $4.91 per gallon – that’s nearly $1 more than the cost of regular fuel. So, if your truck’s owner’s manual recommends you use premium fuel (91+ octane), your first reaction might be to ignore the suggestion.
But opting for regular (87 octane) or midgrade fuel (89 octane) could cause you to sacrifice performance or efficiency. So, while you won’t gum up your engine or destroy anything, you’re losing out on some of that power for which you likely paid top dollar – just to save some bucks on fuel.
So, here are the trucks that recommend premium fuel, and the reasons you should adhere to the suggestion.
The GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado get a refresh for the 2022 model year, and that apparently includes a re-think of the fuel recommendation. As we previously reported, the Sierra/Silverado with the 6.2-liter V-8 engine recommended 93+ octane, which can be hard to find in some areas. But the 2022 owner’s manual says a minimum of 91 is recommended but 87 can be used if the higher octane is unavailable. However, it goes on to say doing so will result in a reduction of performance and drivability.
The Nissan Titan is currently the only full-size truck that comes standard with a V-8 engine. Nissan tout’s Titan’s best in class power of 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, but here’s the catch: only with premium fuel.
While Nissan doesn’t tell you what the horsepower rating is on regular fuel, we did a little digging, and this is the same 5.6-liter engine you see in the Nissan Armada, which was refreshed in 2021 and added a premium fuel recommendation to eke out the same horsepower and torque ratings we see in the Titan. But in 2020, the recommended fuel with the same engine was regular unleaded the spec sheet says it delivers 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque.
So, draw your own conclusions here, but since premium fuel isn’t required here, you’re looking at a difference of about 10 horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque. Is that worth the extra $1 per gallon you’ll shell out for premium fuel?
The Ram TRX sports the same 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 you’ll see in the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats – which both require premium fuel. So, it’s no shocker that this performance-oriented truck, which delivers 702 horsepower and 605 pound-feet of torque, also requires premium fuel. We found a typo on the FuelEconomy.gov downloadable documents that said the TRX “recommended” premium fuel, so we did a double check with the folks at Ram Trucks, and they confirmed this is not a recommendation.
Specifically, it’s required because the engine and certain components, like the fuel system, run best with it. Using regular fuel when the TRX calls for premium could result in degraded engine performance.
Ford Motor Co. recently revealed its TRX fighter with a supercharged V-8 engine – the same one you’ll see in the Mustang Shelby GT500. The Ford F-150 Raptor R delivers 700 horsepower, and yep, it requires premium fuel – just like the GT500. While we won’t see this for another year, but we wanted to include it on our 2022 list as a heads up.
Here’s the thing, when an automaker “recommends” you do something for a vehicle, it’s more than a suggestion. They’re basically telling you how to get the most life out of your vehicle – kinda like getting oil changes at regular intervals. So, why wouldn’t you do that?
Whether you’re opting for a higher trim or it’s baked into the base price, you’re paying a premium for an up-level V-8 engine. So even though the premium fuel thing is a PITA – especially as gas prices skyrocket – you should be protecting your investment.
And if you don’t want to buy premium fuel, well, now you know which trucks not to buy.