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Types Of Fuel A Nissan Altima Uses (All Generations)

Types Of Fuel A Nissan Altima Uses (All Generations)

On this blog, we’ve written extensively about the Nissan Altima and its numerous features. Today we’re going to talk about exactly what kind of fuel you should use for every generation and engine type of this sedan and/or coupe. Below we’ll start with a quick answer:

Nissan Altima’s manufactured between 2002 – Present-day with a 2.0L, 2.5L, 3.5L engine or hybrid drivetrain use unleaded regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87. For improved performance in the 2002 – 2006 Altima with the 3.5L engine, Nissan recommends the use of 91 octane gasoline.

However, that certainly doesn’t tell you the whole story. Below we’ll further elaborate on this answer by mentioning what specifications you should be looking for in terms of fuel. Furthermore, we’ll talk about additives and different blends of fuel and whether or not this is recommended for the Altima. Finally, we’ll discuss the gas mileage, tank size, and much more of this car. Read on!

Also read: Nissan Altima Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Infographic explaining the fuel types for a Nissan Altima

Gasoline Specifications

First of all it’s good to know that Nissan recommends fuel that meets World Wide Fuel Charter specifications. In essence, this is a benchmark for automotive makers and gas suppliers to standardize the quality of fuel that’s used in the world. In the USA there’s no resource which tells us exactly where to get this kind of fuel.

Instead, we therefore recommend you use TOP TIER GAS. Doing so ensures that you use high-quality fuel that meets American specifications. You can find certified retailers at

Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Nissan Altima

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated gasoline is gasoline that has been designed to burn cleaner. It’s mandatory in some areas of the USA where air quality is a problem. You can find an updated map of where reformulated gasoline is mandatory here on the website of the EPA.

Nissan Altima’s are compatible with reformulated gasoline and Nissan actually recommends you use this fuel whenever it’s available. It will not change the performance or durability of the engine in any negative way but it will help improve the air quality in your area.

Oxygenated Blends

Some fuel suppliers sell gasoline that’s oxygenated. These oxygenated blends contain a certain percentage of ethanol, Methyl Tert-butyl Ether (MTBE), and methanol. Gasoline for the Nissan Altima can only have a small percentage of these chemical components in the gasoline. Not following the guidelines mentioned below will most likely result in severe damage to the engine.

  • In the 2002 – 2018 Nissan Altima fuels can have a maximum percentage of 10% ethanol. Altima’s produced from 2019 onwards can have fuels with a maximum percentage of 15% ethanol. E15 fuel can therefore only be used in Altima’s that were produced after 2019. E-85 is not compatible with any generation of the Altima.
  • For all Nissan Altima’s the following rule applies: if a methanol blend is used, it should contain no more than 5% methanol (methyl alcohol, wood alcohol). It should also contain a suitable amount of appropriate cosolvents and corrosion inhibitors. If not properly formulated with appropriate cosolvents and corrosion inhibitors, such methanol blends may cause fuel system damage and/or vehicle performance problems
  • All Nissan Altima’s can have a maximum percentage of 15% MTBE. Anything more than that will most likely result in engine damage.

Gasoline With Additives

Nissan does not recommend the use of fuel additives for any generation of the Nissan Altima. The reason for this is that many additives (such as fuel injector cleaner, octane boosters such as MMT, intake valve deposit removers, etc.) can contain active solvents, which will damage your fuel system Altima.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Nissan Altima

What If I Hear A Knocking Sound After Refilling?

After refilling it’s possible that you hear knocking of the engine. It’s good to know that a light knocking of the engine is normal and usually resolves itself. However, using unleaded gasoline with an octane rating lower than 87 in the Nissan Altima can result in heavy knocking of the engine.

This is referred to as ‘spark knock’ and will result in severe damage to the fuel system if not fixed immediately. It’s best to park the car and inform your dealer immediately. If not resolved in time the damage that’s done to the internals of the car does not fall under the warranty.

Also read: Is The Nissan Altima A Sports Car? (Answered)

Gas Mileage Of A Nissan Altima

Besides knowing what gasoline the Nissan Altima uses it’s of course also important to know how much fuel it burns. It will come as no surprise that the Nissan Altima actually has a solid gas mileage. If you’re really conscious about this aspect of the car you’re most likely best of with the 2.0, 2.5 or Hybrid drivetrains. The 3.5L delivers more power but the pre-2018 models don’t have that good of a gas mileage.

YearEngineCombined MPGCity MPGHighway MPG
2002 – 20062.5232127
2007 – 20122.5262331
2.5 Hybrid343533
2012 – 20182.5312739
2018 –  Present2292534

Tank Size Per Generation

Nissan Altima’s manufactured between 2002 – 2011 have a tank size of 20 gallons (75.6 liters). The 2012 – 2018 Altima has a tank size of 18 gallons (68 liters). The 2018 – Present-day Altima has a tank size of 16.25 gallons (61.3 liters) for the FWD version and 16 gallons (60.6 liters) for the AWD version.

Cost For A Full Tank Of Gas

On average it costs $66.80 to fill up a 2002 – 2011 Nissan Altima whereas the 2012 – 2018 will cost $60.12 for a full tank. The 2018 – Present-day Altima costs around $53.44 for a full tank of gas. Texas is the cheapest state to fill up a Nissan Altima where a full tank of gas will cost $47.56 – $59.44. California is the most expensive state where a full tank will cost $72.16 – $90.2.


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