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Types Of Gas A Chevy Tahoe Uses (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Chevy Tahoe Uses (Explained)

For off-road enthusiasts, the Chevrolet Tahoe has been a great vehicle to buy. It was introduced in the year 1992 and is still a part of the Chevrolet line-up of SUVs. We will take a closer look at how fuel-efficient the Tahoe is and what fuel types are recommended for use with the Chevrolet Tahoe as per the owner’s manuals for Tahoe’s generations.

All the engine options available in Chevy Tahoe’s line-up should have 87 or higher rated octane except for the 6.2L V8 that has the premium recommended. Under heavy load, it is advised to run mid-grade 91 or premium 93 instead. For diesel engines, Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, no more than 15ppm is required. TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline/Diesel is a recommended additive.

This is a significantly shortened version of how good the Tahoe was in terms of fuel efficiency. We will take a step further and give you a generation-to-generation overview of how things were when it came to the fuel economy of Chevrolet Tahoe. We will also take into account non-conventional fuel types for their suitability with Chevrolet Tahoe.

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Infographic on the fuel types for a Chevrolet Tahoe

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

2021 – Present

The current American-made Tahoe is offered with three types of engines. There is a base model 5.3 liter ECOTEC3 V8 engine that shells out a healthy 355 horsepower. The upper tier gets the 6.2-liter ECOTEC3 V8 producing 420 horsepower. And finally, the Duramax Diesel engine, which, with its 3.0-liter turbocharged setup, puts out 277 horsepower.

Chevrolet Tahoe’s owner manual states that a minimum of 87-grade octane gasoline should be used for the gasoline engines. It further states that for the 6.2-liter higher output V8 ECOTEC3 the best option is to go for 93-grade octane gasoline. This is an excellent alternative to the 87-grade octane to enhance engine performance and longevity.

For the Duramax TurboDiesel variant, the 2-D diesel is suggested for regions where temperatures seldom drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. For areas with climates frequently dipping below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, 1-D diesel fuel is indicated by Chevrolet.

EngineRecommended Fuel Type
5.3 liter ECOTEC3 V887-grade octane minimum
6.2 liter ECOTEC3 V8Premium with 93 rated octane
Duramax Diesel 3.0 liter (colder climate)1-D, Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, no more than 15ppm
Duramax Diesel 3.0 liter (hotter climate)2-D, Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, no more than 15ppm

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Chevy Tahoe Last? (Answered)

2015 – 2021

From the year 2015 till 2021, the 4th generation of Chevrolet Tahoe was in production. Chevrolet had two gasoline engines on offer for the 4th generation. A 5.3 liter ECOTEC3 V8 engine and the 6.2 liter ECOTEC3 V8 engine under the hood. Chevrolet’s minimum suggested fuel type in the Chevrolet Tahoe owner’s manual is 87-grade octane gasoline for the 5.3-liter engine.

For the 6.2-liter higher output engine, although the minimum is 87-grade octane, Chevrolet suggests that it would be better to use 93 instead of 87-grade octane. The results of using 93-grade octane are better performance and longer engine life.

The 4th generation was not introduced with any diesel variant.

EngineRecommended fuel type
5.3 liter ECOTEC3 V887-grade octane minimum
6.2 liter ECOTEC3 V8Premium with 93 rated octane

2007 – 2014

The 3rd generation of Chevrolet Tahoe had four different gasoline engines. The base model was a Vortec 4.8 liter V8. Then there was the Vortec 5.3 liter engine producing 326 horsepower. The hybrid 6.0 liter Vortec 6000 engine produced 332 horsepower on gasoline alone. And finally, the 6.2 liter Vortec 6200 V8 makes 395 horsepower.

Once again, no diesel engine was offered for 2007 till 2014 3rd generation of the Chevrolet Tahoe line of SUVs. The suggested fuel type for the gasoline engines was a minimum of 87-grade octane gasoline or higher. Higher would be better since higher grade octanes can elongate the engine’s life and enhance its performance.

EngineRecommended Fuel Type
Vortec 4.8 liter V887-grade octane minimum
Vortec 5.3 liter V887-grade octane minimum
6.0 liter Vortec 6000 V8 (Hybrid)87-grade octane minimum, mid-grade, or premium preferred
6.2 liter Vortec 6200Premium with 93 rated octane

2000 – 2006

For the 2nd generation of Chevrolet Tahoe, the engine line-up was relatively simple. There were only two variants of the gasoline engines. One was the base model 4.8 liter V8 that produces up to 285 horsepower. The second option was the 5.3 liter V8 that was capable of producing up to 295 horsepower.

The 4.8 liter V8, as per Chevrolet’s recommendation, is designed to use a minimum of 87-grade octane gasoline or higher. For the 5.3-liter V8, the recommendation is once again to use at least 87-grade octane or higher. From experience, one can tell that using higher grade octane is better since it enhances engine performance and improves engine life.

EngineRecommended fuel type
4.8 liter V887-grade octane minimum
5.3 liter V887-grade octane minimum

So, Does The Chevy Tahoe Require Premium Gas?

The Chevrolet Tahoe does not universally require premium gas but the use of premium gasoline with higher octane ratings can be beneficial for certain engines, particularly the higher-output variants.

For the current generation (2021-present) of the Chevrolet Tahoe, the base 5.3-liter ECOTEC3 V8 engine and the 3.0-liter Duramax Diesel engine do not require premium gas. They are designed to run on a minimum of 87-grade octane gasoline.

However, the higher-tier 6.2-liter ECOTEC3 V8 engine in the current Tahoe does benefit from using premium gasoline with a 93-rated octane. While it is not mandatory to use premium gas for this engine, it can enhance performance and contribute to the longevity of the engine.

For the previous generation (2015-2021) of the Tahoe, both the 5.3-liter ECOTEC3 V8 and the 6.2-liter ECOTEC3 V8 engines recommend a minimum of 87-grade octane gasoline. It is worth noting that Chevrolet suggests using 93-grade octane for the 6.2-liter engine for improved performance and engine life.

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

Today we have various types of gasoline that can be used for our vehicles.

But does Chevrolet suggest those or otherwise? We’ll cover everything that you might encounter when it comes to fueling up your Tahoe.

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated Gasoline or RFG is formulated for greener and cleaner burning. Compared to regular gasoline, reformulated gasoline causes lesser smog, and the emissions contain pollutants that are less toxic than regular gasoline. RFG is used in states where they have adverse air quality.

Chevrolet recommends that if available, reformulated gasoline can be used on a number of models like the Chevy Suburban or Silverado, among others, including the Chevy Tahoe since the environmental impact of RFG is very nature-friendly and is in a way a means of future-proofing against pollution caused by regular gasoline.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

When we talk about ethanol mixed gasoline, E-85 comes up for specific reasons. The E-85 type gasoline is one with 85% ethanol and 15% regular gasoline. This is linked with high performance and low mileage. But one needs first to identify if the vehicle is E-85 compatible or not.

For the Chevrolet Tahoe, only the vehicles with 5.3 liter V8 (Code 0) and 5.3 liter V8 (Code 3) can use E-85. The eighth letter of the vehicle identification number (VIN) shows these codes. It is located at the top left of the instrument panel.

For the other generations of Chevrolet Tahoe, if your vehicle has a FlexFuel badge and also has a yellow gas tank cap, it means your car is E-85 compatible, and it is safe to use E-85 gasoline.

It is essential to know that using E-85 may lead to some issues that can be prevented if the below measures are adopted:

  • Do not add less than 11 liters of gas when refueling the vehicle
  • A distance of at least 7 miles should be driven to acclimatize the engine to such high ethanol concentration

While these measures have already been taken, there could be a probability of some symptoms one may observe in the vehicle behavior, such as:

  • One might feel hard starting and rough idling of the engine
  • There could be some deposit formation inside the engine while leaving behind some reside

Gasoline With Added Materials

Some available gasoline types come premixed with certain additives. These additives can be engine cleaning agents, detergents, anti-corrosion agents, etc. Their purposes vary from one to the next. Sometimes the idea is to have the engine cleaned of corrosion, and at times, it enhances the engine’s performance and life.

Chevrolet recommends Top Tier Detergent gasoline as safe for use in Chevrolet Tahoe. That’s far from the only additive option for your Tahoe however.

Gasoline With MMT

Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT), an octane enhancer, is available at certain gas stations. Gasoline with MMT is known for reduced spark plug life and potential issues with the proper functioning of emissions systems we have in every vehicle we see today.

Chevrolet suggests against the use of gasoline with MMT for its cars. This stands valid for all generations and engine variants of the Chevrolet Tahoe line of SUVs.


Biodiesels can be obtained from soybean oil and are very nature-friendly. These are biodegradable and can be sourced at times from yellow grease and canola in some cases. It is a drop-in biofuel meaning it is compatible with currently available engines.

Since Chevrolet Tahoe was also launched with the Duramax TurboDiesel engine, it is also biodiesel compatible. Chevrolet recommends the use of diesel fuels that contain up to 20% biodiesel blend by volume. Anything more than 20% is not recommended for the Duramax TurboDiesel engines.

Also read: What Is The Oil Type, Capacity, And Weight Of A Chevy Tahoe?

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

The engine knock or spark knock is something almost every driver is familiar with. It causes an uneasy and unhappy feeling whenever a driver hears the engine knock. This is usually caused if the minimum grade of 87 octane-rated is used in a vehicle and is relatively standard. This isn’t likely to cause any damage to the engine either.

To fix this, it is recommended that gasoline with a higher than 87-grade octane rating be used. This is a quick fix to the spark knock. If the knocking sound is still audible, then it is time for a service.

Does the Chevy Tahoe Have Good Gas Mileage?

The usual mindset of an SUV buyer isn’t that of a fuel economy focussed driver. The typical acceptable range for an SUV buyer for the MPG figures is between 15-25 MPG. Let’s look at how different generations of the Chevrolet Tahoe perform in the fuel economy sector.

Still, keep in mind that the Chevy Tahoe is more about power, accessories, and size instead of fuel economy and this video does a great job breaking down that lack of balance (which isn’t always a bad thing):

2021 – Present

The fuel economy numbers for the 2021 generation of Chevrolet Tahoe are not available at the moment. Still, one may deduce that since the engines are pretty much the same size as that of the previous generation, the fuel economy numbers could also be similar.

2015 – 2021

There were two engine sizes available for the 4th generation of the Chevrolet Tahoe. A 5.3 liter ECOTEC3 V8 and a 6.2 liter ECOTEC3 V8. the 5.3-liter achieved 16 MPG to 22 MPG. If you used E-85, the fuel economy would worsen and give you anywhere from 11 MPG to 16 MPG. For the 6.2 liter engine, the fuel economy range is between 14 and 22 MPG.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
5.3 liter V81622
5.3 liter V8 (E-85)1116
6.2 liter V81422

2007 – 2014

The Chevrolet Tahoe from 2007 till 2014 had four different engines. Vortec 4.8 V8, Vortec 5.3 V8, a 6.0 liter Vortec 6000 hybrid, and finally a 6.2 liter Vortec 6200. The 4.8-liter could achieve 14 to 19 MPG. The 5.3-liter could achieve 15 MPG to 21 MPG on gas, and on E-85, it could go down on fuel economy, achieving anywhere between 11 to 16 MPG.

For the 6.0-liter hybrid engine, the fuel economy was better, ranging from 20 to 23 MPG. The 6.2 liter Vortec 6200 engine was between 12 to 19 MPG and a meager range of 10 to 14 MPG if driven on E-85.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.8 liter V81419
5.3 liter V81521
5.3 liter V8 (E-85)1116
6.0-liter hybrid2023
6.2 liter V81219
6.2 liter V8 (E-85)1014

2000 – 2006

The second generation of Chevrolet Tahoe came with two engines. One was a 4.8 liter V8, and the other option was a 5.3 liter V8. The 4.8-liter engine had a fuel economy range from 14 to 18 MPG. This range got worse for the 5.3-liter engine and could only get you from 13 to 17 MPG. If you were running the 5.3-liter on E-85, it dropped even further and gave anywhere from 10 to 13 MPG.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.8 liter V81418
5.3 liter V81317
5.3 liter V8 (E-85)1013

In a nutshell, Chevrolet Tahoe is not for someone always keeping an eye on the fuel gauge since the overall fuel economy one can derive from the Tahoe is less than ideal.

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of A Chevy Tahoe?

All generations of the Chevrolet Tahoe came with a 26 gallons fuel tank as standard. Only the current generation has a tank capacity of 24 gallons.

Also read: Chevy Tahoe Transmission: Overview, Problems, Fluids

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up A Chevy Tahoe

The chart below will cover the average cost but you can also check out this video for more information on the balance between MPG and fill up costs:

GenerationFuel tank size (Gallons)Cost (Cheapest)Cost (Most Expensive)
2000 till 200626$76.23$116.12
2007 till 201426$76.23$116.12
2015 till 202026$76.23$116.12
2021 till current (gasoline)24$70.37$107.19
2021 till current (turbodiesel)24$76.28$108.98


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