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Types Of Gas A Chevy Express Takes (All Generations)

Types Of Gas A Chevy Express Takes (All Generations)

On this blog, we extensively research your queries about various automobiles. Today, we’ll look at the Chevy Express and see what kind of gasoline it needs. To find the answer, we looked through all the Express’s owner’s manuals since 1996. Here is a quick response:

All model years of the Chevy Express manufactured from 1996 to today with a gasoline engine take regular, unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher. Chevy Express that have a Duramax diesel engine take ultra-low sulfur diesel, low sulfur diesel is prohibited.

Using the right fuel is essential to get the best performance of your car. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Below, we will detail what gasoline should and shouldn’t be used in the Express. Furthermore, we´ll discuss this car’s fuel tank capacity and gas mileage. Read on!

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Infographic on the fuel types for a Chevrolet Express

Fuel Requirements Based on Engine Type

As you can see in the tables below, we verified each engine type (both gasoline and diesel) and established what kind of fuel is best. For the gasoline engines, the results are broadly similar. The diesel engines do have a slight difference between the Duramax and Detroit engines.

Gasoline Engines

Engine Production Type Of Gasoline
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 2021-present (L8T) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
263 cu in (4.3 L) V6 2018-present (LV1) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
364 cu in (6.0 L) V8 2003-2008 (LQ4), 2010-2020 (L96) 2018-2020 (LC8) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
293 cu in (4.8 L) V8 2003-2007 (LR4), 2008-2009 (LY2), 2010-2017 (L20) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
325 cu in (5.3 L) V8 2003-2007 (LM7), 2008-2014 (LMF) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
496 cu in (8.1 L) V8 2001-2002 (L18) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
262 cu in (4.3 L) V6 1996-2002 (L35), 2003-2014 (LU3) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
305 cu in (5.0 L) V8 1996-2002 (L30) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 1996-2002 (L31) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline
454 cu in (7.4 L) V8 1996-2000 (L29) 87-octane regular, unleaded gasoline

Diesel Engines

Engine Production Type Of Diesel 
2.8 L Duramax I4 turbodiesel 2017-present (LWN) Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel 
6.6 L Duramax V8 turbodiesel 2006-2010 (LLY) 2011-2016 (LLM) Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel 
6.5 L Detroit V8 turbodiesel 1996-2002 Originally Low Sulfur Diesel, but Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel can be used 

What Type of Gasoline Can A Chevy Express Take?

Furthermore, different types of gasoline are and aren´t appropriate to use in your Express. Below, we´ve outlined all these types so you know exactly what can and can´t be used.

Reformulated Gasoline

First, we have to talk about the use of reformulated gasoline. This is a type of gasoline that burns cleaner than non-reformulated gasoline. For this reason, it´s mandatory to use in some regions of the United States.

Just like with other Chevy models like the Chevy Malibu, Chevy Suburban, Chevy Spark, and Chevy Silverado as you can read here, the Chevy Express can run on reformulated gasoline just fine. If you have the choice between these two types of gasoline, it´s best to go with reformulated gasoline since it doesn´t cost anything extra but does help the environment and the air quality in your region.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends or E-85

Furthermore, we need to discuss the use of oxygenated blends of gasoline. Oxygenated blends of gasoline typically contain ethanol or methanol. Both additives are bio-sources of fuel and make gasoline burn cleaner. However, the use of methanol or ethanol is strictly regulated in the Chevy Express.

First, it´s good to know that methanol should never be used in any model year of the Chevy Express. Methanol is a very corrosive substance that will damage the fuel system and the engine’s internals.

Chevy Express that aren´t flex-fuel and made in 2011 or before can take gasoline with a maximum percentage of 10% ethanol (also referred to as E10). Chevy Express made from 2012 onwards that aren´t flex-fuel can take gasoline with a maximum percentage of 15% ethanol (also referred to as E15).


Not all Chevy Express are flex-fuel ready. Flex-fuel (also referred to as E85) is a mixture of 51-83% ethanol and 17-49% gasoline. Flex-fuel vehicles can therefore take E10, E15, E30, E50, and E85. However, you need to know precisely what engines and model years can possibly take flex-fuel. Here´s a list:

  • 2007 – 2015 Chevy Express with a 5.3L engine
  • 2010 – 2013 Chevy Express with a 4.8L engine
  • 2010 – 2020 Chevy Express with a 6.0L engine

However, this doesn´t mean that all Chevy Express with these engines can take flex-fuel. To identify whether or not your Express can take flex-fuel, you´ll need to see if it has a yellow fuel cap. If this is the case, flex-fuel can be used. Furthermore, you can also look for badges and markings around the car, as seen in the image below.

flex-fuel cap and flex-fuel badging of chevrolet cars

If you do decide to use flex-fuel in a flex-fuel ready Express, there are some guidelines you´ll need to be aware of. These are the same for all Express that can take this type of gasoline. Not following these guidelines will result in engine damage.

It is best not to alternate repeatedly between gasoline and E85. If you do switch fuels, it is recommended that you add as much fuel as possible — do not add less than 11 L (3 gal) when refueling. You should drive the vehicle immediately after refueling for at least 11 km (7 mi) to allow the vehicle to adapt to the change in ethanol concentration.

Chevy Express owners´ manual

Addition of Cleaning Agents

The use of aftermarket cleaning agents or octane boosters is something that you´ll hear about from time to time. Therefore, it´s good to know that Chevy recommends against the use of these aftermarket cleaning agents. This is because cleaning agents often use silicones or metallics that will damage your engine’s fuel system and the internals.

Instead, Chevy recommends the use of TOP TIER gasoline. TOP TIER retailers sell this type of gasoline. This group of retailers is an alliance that provides gasoline that contains all the suitable cleaning agents your car needs and in a larger quantity than what´s stated by law. You can find a TOP TIER gasoline retailer at

If TOP TIER gasoline is unavailable in your region, Chevy recommends that you add ACDelco Fuel.
System Treatment Plus−Gasoline to the vehicle’s gasoline fuel tank at every oil change or 9,000 miles (15,000 kilometers), whichever occurs first. ACDelco is a Chevy-approved fuel treatment that you can buy at a Chevy dealer or online.

What If The Engine Makes A Knocking Noise?

If you hear a loud knocking noise coming from your engine, then it´s most likely the case you´ve used gasoline with a lower than recommended octane rating. Also, it could be you switched between flex-fuel and regular gasoline (or the other way around) without keeping an eye on the recommendations we described above.

You must stop the vehicle immediately and call your dealer or mechanic if you hear a loud knocking noise from your engine, especially right after refilling. Your vehicle needs to be towed away and drained from its gasoline, and your fuel filter will also need to be replaced.

Please remember that soft knocking noise is a normal occurrence from time to time, especially if the vehicle is carrying a heavy load, towing, or driving uphill. However, continuing to drive with a loud knocking noise will result in irreparable damage that is not covered by any warranty.

What’s The Gas Mileage Of The Chevy Express?

One thing the Chevy Express will never be known for is its great gas mileage. Being a heavy van, the Express rarely achieves mileage above 15 MPG. In the table below, we´ve outlined the different engines that have been used with the Express, together with the combined MPG for each engine.

Engine Combined MPG 
2.8L Diesel 17 
4.3L V6 16 
4.8L Flex-fuel 15.5 
4.8L V8 15 
5.0L V8 14.5 
5.3L V8 13 
5.7L V8 11.5 
6.0L V8 Flex-fuel 11.5 
6.0L V8 14.5 
6.5L Diesel 11 
6.6L V8 14 
6.6L Diesel 16 

What Is The Tank Size Of Chevy Express?

2021 – Present

Type Quantity Model Type 
Standard Tank 31.0 U.S. gallons (117.3 L) Passenger and Cargo 
Standard Tank 32.0 U.S. gallons (121.7 L) Cab and Chassis 
Optional Tank* 57.0 U.S. gallons (215.7 L) Cab and Chassis 

2003 – 2020

Type Quantity Model Type 
Standard Tank 31.0 U.S. gallons (117.3 L) Passenger and Cargo 
Standard Tank 33.0 U.S. gallons (124.9 L) Cab and Chassis 
Optional Tank* 57.0 U.S. gallons (215.7 L) Cab and Chassis 

1996 – 2002

Type QuantityModel Type
Standard Tank 31.0 U.S. gallons (117.3 L) Passenger and Cargo 
Standard Tank 35.0 U.S. gallons (132.5 L) Cab and Chassis 
Optional Tank* 55.0 U.S. gallons (208.1 L) Cab and Chassis 

Closing Thoughts

In this article, we delved into the fuel requirements of the Chevy Express, examining all models from 1996 to the present day. To recap:

Chevy Express vehicles equipped with a gasoline engine, spanning all models from 1996 to today, require regular unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87. For those fitted with a Duramax diesel engine, the necessity is ultra-low sulfur diesel; using low sulfur diesel is not advised.

Understanding the right type of fuel to use is pivotal for optimizing your vehicle’s performance. We hope this discussion has equipped you with the knowledge you need to fuel your Chevy Express appropriately, taking into consideration its fuel tank capacity and gas mileage. Thank you for reading!


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