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The Types Of Gas A Toyota RAV4 Uses (Explained)

The Types Of Gas A Toyota RAV4 Uses (Explained)

In this post, we will be discussing the gas best suited for your Toyota RAV4. To find the answer, we’ve gone through numerous articles, blogs, and owner’s manuals of all RAV4 models that have been produced since 1996.

RAV4 built between 2012-present RAV4 comes with a 2.5L engine which is designed to use high-quality unleaded regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87. Gas with an octane rating of 87 should also be used for the hybrid models.

However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. We will now dive into details on the best gas for the car’s performance. How different gas and additives can reduce the durability and performance or even extend the already long life of your RAV4 in some cases. Furthermore, we will also look at the mileage provided by different models of RAV4.

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Infographic explaining the fuel types for a Toyota Rav4.

Fuel Requirement Based on Type


The 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the 2019 RAV4 is coupled with an eight-speed automated gearbox and comes with either front- or all-wheel drive. The present RAV4 uses unleaded “regular” gasoline of octane number 87 and (Research Octane Number 91) or higher.


The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the RAV4 produces 176 horsepower.  The RAV4 has three drive modes that vary throttle responsiveness and gearbox behavior (Eco, Normal, and Sport). 2012-2018 RAV4 also uses unleaded “regular” gasoline of octane number 87 and (Research Octane Number 91) or higher.

RAV4 EV vehicles were also sold from 2012-2015 in the US. The electric motor in the RAV4 EV is powered by electricity stored in a rechargeable traction battery. Regenerative braking is used to store electricity in the traction battery, extending the driving range. This technology is clean and has a low environmental impact because it does not release CO2 or NOX during operation.


Two powertrain options are offered for the 2012 Toyota RAV4. The standard engine in the RAV4 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 179 horsepower and a four-speed automated transmission. Those seeking more power might opt for the 269 horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic, which propels the RAV4 from 0 to 60 mph in just over six seconds. Both engines are available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

2006-2011 models of RAV4 uses unleaded “regular” gasoline of octane number 87 and (Research Octane Number 91) or higher with an octane rating lower than 87 may result in engine knocking.


The RAV4 has only one engine option: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 161 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. It’s available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The optional automatic transmission has a smooth shift pattern, and rapid downshifts.

The first generation of RAV4 EV vehicles was sold in 1997-2003.

 It uses unleaded “regular” gasoline of octane number 87 and (Research Octane Number 91) or higher.

What Type Of Fuel Does The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Take?

Your Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, like its regular counterpart, is perfectly suited to run on high-quality unleaded regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87. Whether you’re driving a 2012 model or the latest off the lot, 87 octane is the recommended fuel.

This is typical to see in most Toyota Hybrids and vehicles like the Highlander, Prius, and Corolla (to name a few) all do just fine with 87 octane.

Still, using poor-quality fuel, even if it’s the right octane, can lead to build-ups in your engine over time which can reduce efficiency and performance.

Does The RAV4 Require Premium Fuel?

No, the Toyota RAV4, including its hybrid variant, does not require premium fuel. It’s designed to run efficiently on regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. Using higher octane fuel like premium won’t significantly improve performance or fuel economy in these models.

Because Toyota makes vehicles with the average consumer in mind, most of their vehicles perform great without premium fuel. Whether you’re talking about the fuel requirements of minivans like the Sienna or compact cars like the Yaris you’ll usually do fine with 87 octane.

What Type Of Gasoline Can Or Can’t Be Used?

Besides conventional fuel, there is a wide variety of gasoline available in the market. Many of these for RAV4, some enhance the drivability while others affect the performance adversely. Let’s take a look:

Gasoline Containing MMT

MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl) is a 50-year-old octane-boosting gasoline additive. Extended usage of MMT has raised concerns about the formation of Mn-containing deposits on engine and emissions system components, which could compromise vehicle emissions performance and durability.

Toyota does not suggest using MMT-containing gasoline. If you use MMT-containing fuel, your emission control system may be harmed, and the instrument cluster’s malfunction alert lamp may illuminate. If this happens, contact your Toyota dealer for service.

Addition Of Detergents

Toyota recommends the addition of a cleaning agent in gasoline.

Detergents are required because they maintain parts of the fuel system clean and avoid excessive carbon buildup in injectors, feed valves, and fire chambers. They can restrict proper airflow, change the fuel/air balance, impair fuel economy, offer less fuel economy, and increase vehicle emissions.

All gasoline sold in the United States contains a minimum level of cleaning agent additives. Toyota recommends you buy gasoline from TOP TIER retailers who sell gas that has been proven to keep your engine cleaner than non-TOP TIER retailers. You can find such retailers at

However, there may be instances in which TOP TIER gas is not available in your region. In this case, you likely fill up at BP, Amoco, Walmart, or 7-Eleven. All these brands aren’t TOP TIER retailers and you need to add a detergent to your gasoline to keep your engine clean or deposits will build-up, reducing MPG and the lifespan of your fuel system.

In this case, we recommend you go with a product like Hot Shot’s Gasoline Extreme and Stiction Eliminator. Gasoline Extreme cleans the complete fuel system whereas Stiction Eliminator focuses on the sticky, gummy residue of burnt oil in the engine.

Furthermore, these products don’t contain metallics or silicon and are guaranteed to not void any warranty. It’s the best option if you can’t fill up with TOP TIER gas in the first place.

Gasoline With Ethanol

Most modern cars can run on ethanol and non-ethanol fuel mixtures up to E15 (15 percent ethanol). Flex-fuel vehicles, on the other hand, can handle up to E85 (85 percent ethanol) without issue.

When the gasoline in your vehicle has too much ethanol in it, strange things happen to the computer’s perception of what it’s seeing. The computer assumes the gas is 10% or 15% ethanol but notices that the density (weight) of the gas and the emissions it produces don’t match up with what it thinks it’s seeing.

The computer assumes the gas is 10% or 15% ethanol but notices that the density (weight) of the gas and the emissions it produces don’t match up with what it thinks it’s seeing. The computer will believe the automobile is running on a “low” fuel combination (too much air and not enough fuel).

As a result, the computer responds typically by injecting too much fuel (to address a problem that doesn’t exist), reducing your car’s gas mileage and performance. Proper care should be taken while filling the tank, as if gasohol spills over on the car, then it can tarnish your vehicle’s paint.

Octane Rating Of Fuel

Octane rating helps us to determine the fuel rating. The octane rating, sometimes known as the octane number, is a scale from one to one hundred that describes a fuel’s ability to resist compression and avoid knocking.

The octane number is not a measurement of the fuel’s energy content (that is, its calorific value), but rather how linearly it will burn when ignited rather than exploding in an uncontrolled manner.

Toyota recommends using a regular octane with a rating of 87. If we use an octane rating lower than 87, you can hear a persistent heavy knocking sound. At worst, it can also damage the engine. Also, if you use a higher octane rating higher than recommended, it may deteriorate the performance. 

Does the RAV4 Have A Good Gas Mileage?


The RAV4 earned class-competitive fuel-economy estimates from the EPA. The all-wheel-drive hybrid delivers a mileage of 41/38 MPG on highway/city and combined mileage of 40MPG. All-wheel-drive RAV4s can manage up to an estimated 34 mpg on the highway.

2.5 L35MPG26 MPG30MPG


Toyota RAV4 vehicles were sold between 2012-2015. They gave great mileage of around 76 MPG combined on both highway and city. The base Toyota RAV4 and AWD model return excellent gas mileage for the class. It gets 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. In comparison, hybrid mileage goes around 34/30 MPG.

2.5 L / awd / le / xle29MPG23 MPG25MPG
2.5L Hybrid AWD34MPG30MPG32MPG

2006 – 2011

RAV4 delivers an excellent economy for a compact SUV. The Toyota RAV4 gets 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway (21/27 mpg city/highway with AWD).

While the V6 4WD with 3.5 L vehicles have a slightly lower rating of 19/26 and around the same for AWD.

4WD 2.5 l27MPG21MPG24MPG
4wd 3.5l26MPG19MPG21MPG


2WD 2L / 4WD 2L25MPG20MPG22MPG

You can also check out this great review of the 2022 RAV4 gas mileage in this video:

What If Your Engine Makes A Knocking Noise?

There are several reasons due to which there is a knocking sound in your engine. When fuel burns unevenly in the engine, a knocking occurs, resulting in an annoying noise and potential damage to your engine cylinder walls and pistons.

Knocking sound is also very commonly heard if you are driving uphill or accelerating; there is no need to be concerned in that situation. You may generally hear a slight knocking sound sometimes, but if it is persistent, then it is a problem.

You may have used fuel with a lower octane rating than 87. The lower octane fuel burns more readily under pressure and ignites spontaneously when subjected to too much pressure.

Solution- Adding an octane booster to your Toyota tank will increase the octane to a better range of the currently installed fuel. After the tank gets empty, you can refuel it with the proper rated fuel as mentioned in the owner’s manual of Toyota RAV4.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up Toyota RAV4?

On average, it will cost you around 70 dollars to fill up your RAV4 tank once in California, the state with the costliest petrol, while it will cost you only 45 dollars if you are getting your tank filled in Mississippi, the state with the lowest petrol price in the US.

If you have an older version of RAV4, filling the tank can cost you around 65 dollars in California and 42 dollars in Mississippi.

These are the prices for regular gasoline in the states. If you are filling higher-grade gasoline, then the cost is expected to rise.

Closing Thoughts

In summary, selecting the best gasoline for your Toyota RAV4 goes beyond just knowing the octane rating. While RAV4 models from 2012 to the present, including hybrid versions, are designed to function optimally with high-quality unleaded regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87, it’s not the end of the story. However, it is quite consistent with other Toyota vehicles like the Camry or Avalon which also run on 87 octane whether we’re talking gasoline or hybrid.

Through our in-depth review of various sources, we’ve unpacked the complex interaction of different types of gas and additives, revealing their potential to either compromise or extend the performance and lifespan of your RAV4.

We’ve also shined a light on the fuel efficiency across different RAV4 models, further emphasizing the crucial role the right fuel plays in maximizing your vehicle’s mileage.

As a RAV4 owner, it’s crucial to understand these nuances to ensure optimal vehicle performance, extend the life of your car, and achieve the best possible gas mileage. Knowing what problems to expect from your RAV4 is half the battle. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the right fuel, a loose lug nut, or a shuddering transmission, when it comes to vehicle maintenance knowledge is power.

So fill your tank with confidence, knowing you’re making the best choice for your RAV4’s health, longevity, and problem prevention. Drive safe and enjoy your journey!


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