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The Types Of Gas A Hyundai Santa Fe Takes (Explained)

The Types Of Gas A Hyundai Santa Fe Takes (Explained)

Today we will answer a question that sounds very simple, but there is a slight complication. We will go through all the available trim levels to make things easier, so there is no confusion about which particular engine takes which specific kind of gas. Furthermore, we will be debunking certain myths and some misunderstandings regarding fuel additives.

All the engines available in the Hyundai Santa Fe lineup can run on regular 87 octane. Ethanol is only allowed up to 10% in all generations except for the fourth-gen, which allows up to 15% ethanol by volume. MMT and methanol are not allowed at all. Regarding fuel additives, Hyundai recommends the TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline.

Apart from answering which fuel you should be putting in your Santa Fe and whatnot, we will go through the different tank sizes that come in various trim levels. After you know which tank your particular Santa Fe has, we will answer how much you would have to pay for gas — no matter where you live.

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Infographic explaining the fuel types for a Hyunda Santa Fe.

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

Instead of dividing all the different trim levels of Santa Fe, we will use the engine approach. We will look at all the engines ever used in Santa Fe’s lineup and see what gas each engine will require. Sometimes, the same engine will take different types of gas depending on the model year, as some model years would have tuned-up engines that require higher octane fuels.

First Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2001-2005)

EngineFuel Requirement
2.7L V6 AWDRegular 87 Octane
2.4L inline-4 FWDRegular 87 Octane
3.5L V6Regular 87 Octane

Second Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2006-2011)

EngineFuel Requirement
3.5L V6Regular 87 Octane
3.3L V6Regular 87 Octane
2.4L inline-4Regular 87 Octane
2.7L V6Regular 87 Octane

Third Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2012-2017)

EngineFuel Requirement
2.0L inline-4 TurboMinimum Regular 87 Octane
2.4L inline-4Regular 87 Octane
3.3L V6Regular 87 Octane
3.5L V6Regular 87 Octane

Fourth Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2018-Present)

EngineFuel Requirement
1.6L inline-4 HybridRegular 87 Octane
2.0L inline-4 TurboRegular 87 Octane
2.5L inline-4Regular 87 Octane
2.5L inline-4 TurboRegular 87 Octane
2.4L inline-4Regular 87 Octane

What Types Of Gasoline Can And Can’t Be Used?

Reformulated Gasoline

There is a unanimous agreement across all automotive manufacturers regarding reformulated gasoline — it’s okay to use reformulated gasoline. This reformulated gasoline is nowadays available almost in every other gas station. This reformulated type burns cleaner than conventional gasoline.

As with other Hyundai cars like the Hyundai Ioniq, Elantra, or Kona, to save our declining environment, it is highly advised to use reformulated gasoline. If you are worried about your emissions test, make sure that you have put the reformulated type of gasoline in your tank and not the conventional one.

Also read: This Is Where The Hyundai Santa Fe Is Made

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

Hyundai advises not to use more than 10% ethanol content by volume in the first three generations. The engine is not designed to run more than this; doing so will result in poor engine performance and likely engine damage. Methanol is advised against; not even 1% should be added to the mix.

For the fourth-gen models, the ethanol percentage is increased by 5%, which means you can add up to 15% ethanol by volume in your fourth-gen Hyundai Santa Fe. In comparison, all the previous generations allow up to 10% ethanol by volume.

Gasoline With Added Materials

It is best to avoid aftermarket stuff that is not approved by the Hyundai dealership for the additives. The additives available at the dealerships should be the only ones you should be putting in your Santa Fe. Hyundai recommends using TOP TIER Detergent gasoline in your Santa Fe at every oil change or every 7500-mile mark.

For the MTBE (Methyl Tetra Butyl Ether), Hyundai advises not to exceed 10% by volume mixed with gasoline for the first-gen models. The MTBE is allowed up to 15% by volume when we talk about the second-gen models and onwards.

Gasoline With MMT

Not a single manufacturer recommends using this additive; in fact, it is advised not to use it at all. It is known to damage the engine components, mainly the emissions control system that will lead to an emissions test failure, and not to mention the damage it will do to the environment.


There are diesel variants of Hyundai Santa Fe available, but they are not sold in the US market. This fuel can only be used in diesel variants and not in gas ones.

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Hyundai Santa Fe Last? (Answered)

What If I Hear A Knocking Noise From The Engine After Refilling?

Engine knock is as irritating as it sounds. Some engines knock more than others, even if they are the same ones in the same type of vehicle. Slight engine knock is nothing to be worried about. If you hear a loud knocking sound, the engine is probably running on low octane fuel, which is why the firing order is all messed up, and you hear that metallic/knocking sound.

The first remedy is adding mid-grade or premium-grade fuel with 91 and 93 Octane, respectively. If you hear this loud knocking sound even after refueling with high-quality fuel, your engine needs service. Hyundai advises taking your vehicle to the dealership and having it inspected.

Does the Hyundai Santa Fe Have Good Gas Mileage?

Hyundai Santa Fe falls into the crossover SUV category, apart from the first-gen, a compact CUV (having a car’s chassis). The earlier models are then, in a sense – subcompact SUVs. For crossover standards, Santa Fe does quite well on gas mileage and is a vehicle with few common problems over the years. However, the turbo-charged variants are rather extravagant on gasoline when you floor them.

The minimum you can expect from a Hyundai Santa Fe is about 15 miles to the gallon, while the highest you can get is about 33 miles to the gallon. We have listed all the generations below, and you can see your engine option with its given miles per gallon data. Note that first-gen models might be even lower than 15 miles to the gallon due to them being old.

If you are more focused on how much it will cost you on fuel, it’s best to go for the later models as they would give you much better gas mileage than the first-gen models. The dollars you will save on the first-gen will undoubtedly go into the fuel cost. As the prices are going up steadily, it won’t be easy to bear the gas prices in the near future.

First Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2001-2005)

The first-gen models come with a 4-speed automatic transmission paired with an FWD configuration or a wheel drive configuration. The AWD will also give you a bigger displacement V6 engine having two more cylinders than the standard 2.4L inline-4.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.7L V6 AWD1621
2.4L inline-4 FWD1825
3.5L V61723

Second Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2006-2011)

In the second-gen models, you will see a 6-speed automatic transmission paired with a 3.5L V6. The mpg numbers for this generation are much more promising than the first-gen models. A new entry in this generation is the 3.3L V6 paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
3.5L V62026
3.3L V61724
2.4L inline-42025
2.7L V61824

Third Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2012-2017)

In this generation, the 3.3L V6 is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission instead of the five-speed automatic of the second-generation Hyundai Santa Fe. In this generation, you can also get an AWD setup paired to the 2.4L inline-4. Another feature of this generation is the optional shiftable automatic transmission.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.0L inline-4 Turbo1924
2.4L inline-42225
3.3L V61825
3.5L V62026

Fourth Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (2018 – Present)

This is the modern-day Hyundai Santa Fe with all the latest features. With its futuristic looks, you will be getting an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid variant gets a different 6-speed automatic transmission.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
1.6L inline-4 Hybrid3033
2.0L inline-4 Turbo2025
2.5L inline-42127
2.5L inline-4 Turbo2128
2.4L inline-42229

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of Hyundai Santa Fe?

GenerationsGas tank
First-gen19 gallons
Second-gen19.8 gallons
Third-gen17.43 gallons
Fourth-gen18.8 gallons

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up A Hyundai Santa Fe?

Gas prices are skyrocketing these days. We are seeing increments every other day. By the time you read this article, the prices are sure to have increased. Right now, the highest gas price is seen nowhere other than our all-time highest price winner, California. California has been an undisputed winner at charging us ridiculous amounts per gallon.

If you happen to have a fourth-gen model with an 18.8-gallon gas tank, you will be paying a little over $90 for a full tank of gas, that is, if you go for the regular 87 Octane. And if you happen to have the smallest 17-gallon tank of the first-gen Hyundai Santa Fe, and you live in Kentucky, one of the least expensive states, you will be paying about $55 for a full tank of gas.

It means that you will be paying between $55-$90 for a full tank of gas in a Hyundai Santa Fe wherever you live.


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