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Types Of Gas A Ford Explorer Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Ford Explorer Takes (Explained)

We have put a lot of effort into gathering the exact data. This way, you know exactly what kind of gasoline you need to put in your Ford Explorer. We have gone through manufacturer’s databases to give answers to your questions about your favorite car. Let’s start with a quick summary:

All six generations of Ford Explorer are compatible with 87 octane gasoline, although 91 (or higher) is recommended for heavy-duty work such as towing.

This is just the summary. Below, we are going to show you what kind of gas a Ford Explorer can or can not take. We’ll also discuss what kind of ethanol levels your fuel should contain and if it’s a good idea to add additives. Finally, we will also discuss the cost of filling your tank in different states. Read on!

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Infographic explaining the fuel types for a Ford Explorer.

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

The Second-Generation Ford Explorer (1995-2001)

According to the manufacturers, regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 is recommended for everyday use. However, “premium” gasoline is not recommended. It is better to use mid-grade or premium when you are towing heavy loads. The V8, however, should be given mid-grade or higher to make sure that the internals would not accumulate debris.

EngineFuel Requirement
Ford Cologne V6Regular 87 Octane
Ford Cologne V6Regular 87 Octane
Ford small-block V8Regular 87 Octane

The Third-Generation Ford Explorer (2002-2005)

Regular unleaded gasoline with 87 of octane is recommended. Although premium gasoline with a 91 of octane or higher is preferred when hauling a trailer. The use of ethanol blend E85 is recommended for Flex Fuel Vehicles only.

If you don’t know whether your vehicle is flex-fuel capable or not, then check if your fuel inlet has a yellow bezel around. If you don’t find it, you might find it written on the fuel tank door.

EngineFuel Requirement
Ford Cologne V6Regular 87 Octane
Ford Modular V8Regular 87 Octane

The Fourth-Generation Ford Explorer (2006-2010)

From the fourth generation, a maximum blend of 10% ethanol was allowed in regular unleaded gasoline engines. Any other oxygenated blends of ethanol are not suggested.

EngineFuel Requirement
Ford Cologne V6Regular 87 Octane
Ford Modular V8Regular 87 Octane

The Fifth-Generation Ford Explorer (2011-2019)

From 2013 ethanol blend of 10% was increased to 15%. E85 is allowed to be used in Flex Fuel Vehicles only. And premium gasoline with 91 or higher octane number is preferred for heavy load work like towing.

EngineFuel Requirement
2.0L EcoboostRegular 87 Octane or higher
2.3L EcoboostRegular 87 Octane or higher
3.5L DuratecRegular 87 Octane or higher
3.5L EcoboostRegular 87 Octane or higher
3.7L DuratecRegular 87 Octane or higher

The Sixth-Generation Ford Explorer (2020-Present)

EngineFuel Requirement
2.3L EcoboostRegular 87 Octane or higher
3.3L V6Regular 87 Octane or higher
3.3L V6 HybridRegular 87 Octane or higher
3.0L Ecoboost V6 (400 bhp)Regular 87 Octane or higher
3.0L Ecoboost V6 (365 bhp)Regular 87 Octane or higher
3.0L Ecoboost V6 Hybrid (444 bhp)Regular 87 Octane or higher

Also read: Flat-Towing A Ford Explorer (Complete Guide)

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

Reformulated Gasoline

As reformulated gasoline burns more cleanly than ordinary gasoline, the manufacturers recommend using it in our engines. It is preferred in areas with high concentrations of smog to reduce air pollution. The US EPA has officially considered reformulated gasoline as non-toxic gasoline with no adverse effect.

EngineReformulated gas
First-generationRecommended
Second generationRecommended
Third generationRecommended
Fourth generationRecommended
Fifth-generationRecommended
Six generationRecommended

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

Ethanol / Oxygenated blends were not compatible with the Ford Explorer until 2002. From 2002-2005 ethanol blend of E85 is allowed to be used in Flex Fuel Vehicles only. From 2006-2012 a maximum of 10% of ethanol is allowed in your regular unleaded gasoline engines. If more percentage of ethanol is used, it might harm your fuel tank and the emission system.

From 2013-present, a maximum of 15% ethanol is allowed to be used in regular gasoline tanks. An ethanol blend of 85% (E85) is authorized in Flex Fuel Vehicles only. Below you can see which generations of Ford Explorer are compatible with Flex Fuel/E85.

Model IntervalsEthanol BlendFlex Fuel VehiclePremium
1991-2001Not compatibleNoNot recommended
2002-2005E85 can be used in (FFV)YesNot recommended
2006-201210% EthanolNoNot recommended
2013-Today15% Ethanol / E85(FFV)Yes91 or higher octane number preferred

Gasoline With Added Materials

Most of the additives out there are used either to increase the octane or clean the internals of the combustion engine. You will find a lot of debate on which type of additive you can and can not use. To make things clear, Ford only recommends TOP TIER Gasoline which is gasoline that has all the right additives mixed into it and is available at toptiergas.com.

The lists of additives strictly prohibited are given below:

  • Fuels that contain Kerosene or Paraffin
  • Fuels that have methanol content
  • Metallic based additives are not recommended as they damage the emissions system
  • Leaded fuel is strictly prohibited
Engine generationMetallic/Silicon-based additives
First-generationNot recommended
Second generationNot recommended
Third generationNot recommended
Fourth generationNot recommended
Fifth-generationNot recommended
Sixth generationNot recommended

However, there may be instances in which TOP TIER gas is not available in your region. In this case, you likely fill up at BP, Amoco, Walmart, or 7-Eleven. All these brands aren’t TOP TIER retailers and you need to add a detergent to your gasoline to keep your engine clean or deposits will build-up, reducing MPG and the lifespan of your fuel system.

In this case, we recommend you go with a product like Hot Shot’s Gasoline Extreme and Stiction Eliminator. Gasoline Extreme cleans the complete fuel system whereas Stiction Eliminator focuses on the sticky, gummy residue of burnt oil in the engine. Furthermore, these products don’t contain metallics or silicon and are guaranteed to not void any warranty. It’s the best option if you can’t fill up with TOP TIER gas in the first place.

Gasoline With MMT

Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl (MMT) is an additive used in automobiles to stop knocking and enhance octane activity. 1991 – Present-day Ford Explorer does not allow the use of any additive in your engine, especially manganese-based.

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is only recommended in diesel engines, but unfortunately, Ford Explorer does not offer diesel engines in its lineup.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Ford Explorer

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

If you hear knocking noise after a refill, it’s probably because of not using the right kind of fuel or not using the right octane-rated gasoline. Use the right fuel with the right octane number (recommended by the manufacturer in the owner’s manual).

But if you hear a light knocking noise, it is not a big deal, but if it becomes loud, and does not go away by increasing the octane number of gasoline, contact your dealer right away. If you continue to use your vehicle even with the loud knocking noise, you might end up losing the warranty of your vehicle.

Does the Ford Explorer Have Good Gas Mileage?

We have arranged data in short tables to simplify the complications of finding your engine and its combined mileage. Scroll down, and you will find what you are looking for.

Second generation (1995-2001)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.0L V61318
4.0L SOHC V61318
5.0L V81318

Third generation (2002-2005)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.0L SOHC V6 (2WD)1419
4.0L SOHC V6 (4WD)1318
4.6L V8 (2WD)1318
4.6L V8 (4WD)1317

Fourth generation (2006-2010)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.0L SOHC V6 (2WD)1420
4.0L SOHC V6 (4WD)1319
4.6L V8 (2WD)1521
4.6L V8 (4WD)1419

Fifth-generation (2011-2019)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.0L Ecoboost2027
3.5L Ecoboost V6 (FWD)1724
3.5L Ecoboost V6 (AWD)1622
2.3L Ecoboost (FWD)1927
2.3L Ecoboost (AWD)1825
FFV 3.5L (2WD)1724
FFV 3.5L (AWD)1622
E-85 3.5L (2WD)1318
E-85 3.5L (AWD)1216

Sixth generation (2020-Present)

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.3L Ecoboost (RWD)2128
2.3L Ecoboost (AWD)2027
3.0L (AWD)1824
3.3L (HEV-AWD)2326
3.3L (HEV-RWD)2729
FFV 3.3L1623
E85 3.3L1115

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of The Ford Explorer?

Ford Explorer has a minimum tank size of 15 gallons or 68 liters and a maximum tank size of 22.5 gallons or 102 liters.

Second generation (1995-2001)

EngineQuantity
4.0L V622.5 gal or 102 liters
4.0L SOHC V622.5 gal or 102 liters
4.6L V822.5 gal or 102 liters
5.0L V817.5 gal or 80 liters

Third generation (2002-2005)

EngineQuantity
4.0L SOHC V622.5 gal or 102 liters
4.6L V822.5 gal or 102 liters

Fourth generation (2006-2010)

EngineQuantity
4.0L SOHC V622.5 gal or 102 liters
4.6L V822.5 gal or 102 liters

Fifth-generation (2011-2019)

EngineQuantity
2.0L Ecoboost18.6 gal or 84.5 liters
3.5L Ecoboost V618.6 gal or 84.5 liters
2.3L Ecoboost18.6 gal or 84.5 liters
3.5L Duratec18.6 gal or 84.5 liters

Sixth generation (2020-Present)

EngineQuantity
2.3L Ecoboost18.6 gal or 84.5 liters
3.0L15 gal or 68 liters
3.3L17.9 gal or 81.3 liters

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up Ford Explorer?

From the above-given data, you might have an idea now about the gasoline capacity of your required vehicle. We have gathered data for you to give you an idea about the cost to fill up your specific model of Ford Explorer as well.

On average, you will be paying $3.416 per gallon in the United States. And with this average, $51.24 to fill up your 15 gallons or $76.86 to fill up 22.5 gallons of the fuel tank, which is the maximum tank size of Ford Explorer as of today.

If you are in California, gasoline goes by the rate of $4.622, which will make a total of $103.995 to fill up 22.5 gallons – the most expensive rate at the time of writing this article or would cost you 69.33$ at minimum (to fill 15 gallons).

On the other hand, if you are in a state like Oklahoma, it would cost you around $45.36 to fill up a 15-gallon tank at the rate of $3.024 or $68.04 at maximum ( to fill 22.5 gallons). Overall, in California, it would cost you in the range of $69.33-$103.995, and in Oklahoma, it would cost you in the range of $45.36-$68.04.

StateGallonsCost
National-Average15 gal$51.24
National-Average22.5 gal$76.86
California15 gal$69.33
California22.5 gal$103.99
Oklahoma15 gal$45.36
Oklahoma22.5 gal$68.04

Sources

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