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Does the Ford F-150 EcoBoost require premium fuel?


One of the more common questions about the Ford F-150 EcoBoost is this: Does it require premium fuel? The short answer is no. But, even though it’s not required, there are instances where premium fuel is strongly recommended.

The Ford F-150 EcoBoost is a 3.5-liter V-6 twin-turbocharged engine, and using these turbochargers, it is able to provide V-8 power with V-6 fuel economy. With the get-up-and-go, it provides a more pleasing driving experience than a traditional V-8 engine. However, this has raised questions on where that performance come from? The turbochargers. So, wouldn’t it need premium, aka 91 octane or above, fuel to achieve this performance?

Ford F-150 EcoBoost and premium fuel

Ford states in their owner’s manual for the 2022 F-150, the truck recommended fuel type is 87 octane. So, for an everyday drive, regular fuel is just fine. Kind of.

However, even this can be confusing since 87 is often mid-grade depending on where you live. As we discuss in finding the right octane fuel for your truck, the minimum fuel at a pump, aka regular, can vary from 85 to 87 octane. Premium can also vary between 91 and 93 octane as well. What this means, though, is whether 87 is regular or mid-grade where you live, that’s the fuel you must use in your truck to stay within warranty.

Speaking of premium, there are times when it is recommended.

The manual states on page 252, “For best overall vehicle and engine performance, premium fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended. The performance gained by using premium fuel is most noticeable in hot weather as well as other conditions, for example when towing a trailer.”

Let’s break this down.

Since premium fuel burns more efficiently and cooler than other octanes, you are going to help the engine avoid carbon buildup and operate at its best. However, as we’ve seen in the Nissan Titan and various Mazda vehicles, premium fuel could net you more power. We reached out to Ford to see if this was the case with the F-150 as well, and got the following reply:

“Premium fuel provides directional fuel economy and performance improvement opportunities above 91RON at high temperature and altitudes.  Unfortunately, we do not have data that shows the performance benefits of 98RON (premium fuel) vs 91RON as this is not our sign-off criteria.”

Next, hot weather and towing can be taxing on these smaller V-6 engines since the turbochargers are going to be working hard to maintain performance. As the turbochargers work, they heat up. Using premium fuel would allow them to work better and run cooler, thus returning better performance.

The bottom line

You will be fine in the majority of the driving situations to use 87 octane. The only time to consider using premium is going to be a hot summer or if you are towing regularly. You might also consider using premium  every few fill-ups as well to keep the engine clean. Today’s engine computers can detect the octane level in the fuel and adjust accordingly.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. Sam November 3, 2022

    Its been proven that the quality between regular and premium is no different. The only difference between the two fuels is premium can with stand a higher compression before pre-mature explosion. Running premium gas will not keep you engine any cleaner than regular gas. Everything else is just a myth.


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