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Types Of Gas A BMW X1 Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A BMW X1 Takes (Explained)

The X1 is positioned below the X3 and attracts a broader customer base because of its compact size, better fuel efficiency, and lower price both in the US and Europe. Today, we will look at the recommended fuel types, what types of fuel not to use, fuel efficiency, and the size of the X1’s fuel tank. Before we go into a detailed review, we present a summary of the fuel types used in the various models of X1.  

All generations of the BMW X1 require premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; now, we will move to all the available fuel additives and each engine’s mileage. We will also be debunking some myths that you might have been affected by, and in the end, we will give you the cost of getting a full tank of gas no matter where you live and what engine you have under the hood.  

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Infographic explaining the different types of gas a BMW x1 takes.

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

Each engine is designed to operate optimally for a particular fuel type and rating. For example, if an engine has a lower compression ratio, it does not need to produce much power. Thus, regular unleaded fuel will suffice. If, however, the engine is designed to withstand higher compression ratios, then the optimum fuel for such an engine is premium unleaded fuel. 

The octane rating classifies various types of gasoline; the higher the octane rating, the higher the compression ratio, which translates into a massive detonation and more energy output. Higher octane rating fuels reduce the likelihood of the detonation occurring at the wrong time, resulting in inefficient fuel use and better gas mileage. 

Octane rating or the anti-knock index indicates how much the gas can be compressed before it detonates. The higher the octane rating means higher compression and an enormous detonation. With a higher octane rating, there is less likelihood of detonation happening at the wrong time which means efficient fuel burning and higher energy transfer.

The engines for BMW X1 North American models have primarily been 2.0 L, with 3.0 L engines available from 2013 to 2015. However, the recommended fuel in all cases is premium unleaded fuel with an octane rating of 91. Elsewhere in the world, the BMW has also introduced a diesel engine but not North America.

EngineFuel Requirement 
2.0L, 4 CylinderPremium unleaded gasoline
3.0L, 6 Cylinder (2013, 2014, and 2015 only)Premium unleaded gasoline

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

And now that we have determined the recommended fuel requirement based on engine types. Let us look at the other fuels that are available in the market and, based on BMWs recommendations which one of these can be used in X1 and which cannot be.

This discussion is vital because many alternative fuels meet the strict EPA emission regulations. This emphasis on cleaner fuel may not translate into a viable fuel for a particular engine type. Hence in this section, we will analyze the various fuels available and discover BMW recommendations for each.

Reformulated Gasoline

Sulfur is one of the most pollution-causing ingredients found in gasoline and is responsible for smog. To reduce sulfur content in gasoline to 80 mm max, the EPA developed regulations that led to Reformulated Gasoline (RFG), a cleaner and more efficient blend of gasoline. It is mandatory to use RFG in cities with a high level of smog.

RFG is produced with an octane rating ranging from 87 to 93. RFG has a low sulfur content and is safe to use in cars that run on unleaded gasoline. 

According to the BMW X1 owner’s manual, recommended fuel should be sulfur-free or low in sulfur content, not have lead or other metals, such as iron or magnesium, and have an octane rating between 89 and 91. RFG meets all these criteria and is suitable for use in X1.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85 

As a result of the worldwide awareness of climate change, oxygenated blends of gasoline have become very popular. Chemical compounds with oxygen as part of their chemical structure are called oxygenates. Gasoline, alcohol, and others are added as oxygenates, reducing carbon emissions and facilitating complete combustion.

A high percentage of gasoline sold in the United States is blended with up to 10% oxygenating agent, also known as E10. BMW allows gasoline use with 10% ethanol-blended gasoline, including X1.

Among the most popular oxygenated blend is E85 or Flex-fuel. Flex-fuel contains 85% ethanol. BMW does not recommend using such gasoline in X1 because of the likelihood of damage to the engine and the fuel supply system.

Gasoline With Added Materials

Additives to gasoline serve two purposes: to increase gasoline’s octane rating and act as lubricants or anti-corrosives. A higher octane rating means higher compression ratios and efficient burning of gasoline. Oxygenates, metal deactivators, antioxidants, and corrosion inhibitors are the common types of gasoline additives.

Automobile experts are divided on the benefits of gasoline additives. At best, the consensus is that these are not harmful to the engine, but the tall claims about performance enhancement and better fuel efficiency are not completely true either. Generally, if your car is in good shape and running well, there is no need to use gasoline laced with additives.

So does BMW allow gasoline with additives for its X1? To avoid harmful engine deposits, BMW highly recommends purchasing gasoline from BP or Top Tier retailers. The detergent in Top Tier gasoline help to keep fuel injectors and intake valves clean and avoid problems due to the buildup of gunk.

Gasoline With MMT

MMT or Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl is an octane enhancer branded by Afron Chemicals. Studies have shown that MMT is a source of many issues such as increased hydrocarbon emissions, increased spark plug deposits, and plugging of monolithic converters.

The use of MMT in gasoline is a controversial topic, with automakers widely against its use.

Furthermore, public health officials and regulatory agencies have voiced their opinion against its usage because of potential health hazards.

On the other hand, the manufacturers are adamant that it is safe and effective as an octane enhancer.

BMW strongly recommends against using leaded gasoline or any gasoline containing metal additives, such as iron or manganese. Such fuels will cause permanent damage to the catalytic converter and other components. 

In a nutshell, BMW recommends premium unleaded gas with an AKI rating of 91. However, it allows fuel use with a minimum AKI rating of 89. However, BMW does warn its consistent usage may lead to engine knocking sounds at startup, especially at high temperatures. This, however, will not affect the engine life. 

BMW warns against poor-quality fuels because these may cause the buildup of harmful engine deposits. Poor quality fuels are also the source of issues such as the problem with starting, engine stalling, drivability, etc. 

In case of drivability issues, BMW recommends using high-quality premium gasoline for at least the next few gas fills. 

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

Each one of us has experienced the phenomenon called knocking. Still, most are not aware that it can be caused by many factors such as carbon buildup in the combustion chamber, combustion timing out of sync, faulty spark plugs, and poor fuel quality, among many others. 

Poor quality fuel causes knocking because instead of burning at once, it burns off prematurely as several mini-explosions before the main detonation. These early detonations alter the combustion cycle, and this causes a knocking sound. 

There is no need to worry if the knocking results from poor-quality fuel.  It can be remedied by filling the next couple of tanks with premium quality fuel which will help to clean up the combustion system.

If, however, despite using premium fuel, the engine continues knocking, it is recommended to visit an authorized BMW technician and have the car checked.

Does the BMW X1 Have Good Gas Mileage?

According to a comparison of the 20 most economical subcompact SUVs for fuel consumption, the BMW X1 is rated at 13th position with 31 MPG on the highway and 23 MPG in the city. These are average figures, and based on whether the X1 is AWD or RWD and whether it is a 2.0 L or 3.0 L engine, these figures are different.

The table below gives the consumption data for the various trims and model years of X1 

EngineHighway MPGCity MPGCombined MPG
2.0 L 4 Cyl RWD332427
2.0 L 4 Cyl AWD322226
3.0 L 6 Cyl AWD261821

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of BMW X1?

The size of the fuel tank is one of the important specs looked at by consumers when sizing up a car. A fuel-efficient vehicle with a reasonable tank size is a great combination. The BMW X1 started with a tank size of 16.6 gallons, slightly reduced to 16.1 gallons in 2016.

EngineYearGas Tank Size (Gallons)
2.0 L / 3.0 L2013 to 201516.6 
2.0 L 2016 to present16.1

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up A BMW X1?

The recommended fuel for BMW X1 is premium unleaded (AKI rating 91), while the minimum allowed grade fuel is regular unleaded with an AKI rating of 89. The current national average price of regular unleaded fuel is $4.114, while $4.802 for the premium unleaded. 

So with a tank size of 16.6 gallons, it would cost $68.29 to fill up with regular unleaded and $79.71 if it is filled with premium unleaded fuel. For a BMW X1 with a tank size of 16.1, these figures become $66.24 and $77.31, respectively. The point to note here is that the current gas prices are abnormally high because of the current international political situation.


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