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Types Of Gas A Chevy Volt Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Chevy Volt Takes (Explained)

Writing about Chevys is almost a daily practice on this blog. Today we will look at what type of gas is best suited for the Chevy Volt. The Volt was made between 2011 – 2019 and was one of the first proper plug-in hybrids on the American market. Here’s a quick answer:

The first generation of the Chevy Volt, made between 2011 – 2015, uses premium, unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91. The second generation, made between 2016 – 2019, uses regular, unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87.

However, this doesn’t tell us the whole story. In the article below, we’ll discuss what kind of gasoline is used for what type of engine. Furthermore, we’ll discuss different additives that can and can’t be used, what percentage of ethanol is acceptable, and the gas tank size of the different ATS generations. Read on!

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Infographic explaining the different fuel types for a chevrolet volt.

Fuel Requirements Per Generation

What’s interesting about the fuel requirement specification of the Chevy Volt is that both generations use a different octane level. However, they both use the same 1398 cc EcoFLEX LUU I4 engine. The reason for this is likely that Chevy realized they needed to update the engine for the second generation.

This is because using premium gasoline for a 1.4L engine is very uncommon and runs up costs for owners. As a general rule of thumb, if the engine isn’t a large V8 or turbo/supercharged, it shouldn’t require premium gasoline.

Using regular gasoline in the second generation of the Volt is completely fine and actually how it should have been from the beginning.

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

Reformulated Gasoline

First, we need to discuss the use of reformulated and non-reformulated gasoline. Reformulated gasoline is the gasoline that is designed to burn cleaner than non-reformulated gasoline. For this reason, it has become widely popular in many regions of the United States. It has even become mandatory in many states to use this kind of fuel.

Therefore, it’s good to know that all engines used in all generations of the Volt are designed to take both reformulated and non-reformulated gasoline. Consequently, you don’t have to worry about what kind of gasoline you put in your engine (at least not for this criteria).

However, we have to say that Chevy recommends using reformulated gasoline whenever possible. Like other carmakers, GM (owners of Chevy) realize that using this type of gasoline is better for the environment. Furthermore, this type of gasoline doesn’t diminish the performance of your engine in any way, shape, or form, and it also carries the same price as non-reformulated gasoline.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

Furthermore, we have to talk about using oxygenated blends of gasoline in the Chevy Volt. Oxygenated blends of gasoline are types of gasoline that contain a certain level of ethanol or methanol. These oxygenates are blended into regular gasoline because they’re made from biosources. Therefore, they burn cleaner and thereby reduce emissions.

The first model year of the Chevy Volt (the 2011 model year) can take gasoline with a maximum of 10% ethanol. All model years of the Chevy Volt manufactured from 2012 onwards can take gasoline with a maximum percentage of 15% ethanol.

FlexFuel (also referred to as E85) is therefore strictly forbidden. This is because, in the United States, FlexFuel contains 51 – 83% ethanol, depending on the region and the season. Using FlexFuel will damage the engine and fuel system beyond repair, though this isn’t true for some generations of the Chevy Impala, which are designed to take FlexFuel.

Also, using gasoline mixed with any percentage of methanol will result in severe engine damage and is therefore not allowed.

Gasoline With Added Materials

Typically, car manufacturers recommend against the use of fuel additives. Fuel additives are usually sold as octane-boosting substances or advertised to help keep your engine clean.

Boosting octane is a reasonably useless practice since it’s recommended and safer for your engine to buy premium gasoline at a certified retailer. Furthermore, cleaning additives are also advised against because they typically contain silicones or metallic, damaging the engine instead of cleaning it.

Therefore, Chevy instead recommends the use of TOP TIER gasoline sold by certified retailers, including their other Chevy models like the Cruze, Spark, Blazer, and Express. This type of gasoline already has all the proper additives mixed into it, and it has been scientifically proven that this gasoline helps keep your engine clean and perform optimally. It also doesn’t cost any more than non-TOP TIER gasoline. You can find a retailer on

Suppose you’re not capable of buying TOP TIER gasoline because this type of gasoline is not sold in your area. In that case, Chevy recommends that you fill up your tank with ‘Fuel System Treatment PLUS’, which is an additive only sold by Chevy and GM dealers. This should happen at every oil change or roughly 9,000 miles.

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

Hearing a slight knocking noise coming from the engine isn’t a troubling sign. Especially if this knocking sound occurs when the car is performing at optimum levels (such as when towing or driving uphill). However, if the knocking sound becomes very noticeable and happens right after refueling, you may have more significant problems.

In this case, you’ve likely filled up with gasoline that has a lower than recommended octane rating. For example, first-generation Volt owners that fill up with 87 octane where 91 octane is recommended are susceptible to experiencing this problem.

If this happens, you should stop the car immediately and contact your dealer or garage. It’s likely the car will need to be towed, drained of its fuel, and the fuel filter will need to be replaced to clean the system of the wrong gasoline thoroughly.

What’s the Fuel Economy Of A Chevy Volt?

1.4 (’11 – ’15)9337
1.4 (’16 – ’19)10642

How Big is the Chevy Volt Gas Tank?

The first generation of the Chevy Volt, made between 2011 – 2015, have a fuel tank capacity of 9.3 gallons or 35.2 liters. The second generation of the Volt, made between 2016 – 2019, have a fuel tank capacity of 8.9 gallons or 33.7 liters.

Closing Thoughts

In this article, we ventured deep into the details surrounding the appropriate fuel choices for the Chevrolet Volt manufactured between 2011 and 2019. To recap:

For the initial generation spanning 2011 to 2015, it’s advised to opt for premium unleaded gasoline sporting an octane level of 91. Meanwhile, the latter generation, which encompasses the years 2016 to 2019, runs efficiently on regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rate standing at 87.

Yet, gasoline type isn’t the sole factor; we also explored the additives permissible for use, the acceptable ethanol percentage levels, and dissected the tank sizes pertinent to various ATS generations. We trust that this deep dive has bestowed you with a comprehensive understanding, guiding you to make informed fuel choices for your Chevy Volt. Thank you for reading, and here’s to smoother, optimized drives ahead!


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