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Types Of Gas A Ford Transit Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Ford Transit Takes (Explained)

This article will look at the fuel requirement of USA models of Ford Transit based on the engine types and manufacturer’s recommendations, the kind of fuel that should not be used, the size of the gas tank, and its fuel economy.

So what types of gas a Ford Transit takes?

The engines used in North American models of the Ford Transit include diesel engines (3.2L, 2.0L) and petrol engines (3.5L and 3.7L). The recommended fuel for a petrol engine is regular unleaded with an octane rating of 87. The diesel engines are made to run on Ultra-low Sulphur Diesel.

In the successive sections, we will look into some details of each engine type and the recommended fuels from among the number of choices currently available. Next, we will look at fuels not to be used and why, followed by the data on fuel economy, available tank sizes, and the cost to fill a Ford Transit.

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Infographic explaining the different fuel types for a Ford Transit.

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

Fourth generation (2014-present)

Ford Transit is one of the most popular vans with over 800,000 sold, making it the third-best-selling van of all time.

In North America, the fourth generation has been manufactured with two different types of diesel engines. Ford recommends using diesel fuel that is Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) designated as number 1-D or 2-D with a maximum content of 15-ppm sulfur. Besides, Ford also allows the use of diesel that is blended with 20% bio-diesel.

In general, Ford recommends using diesel fuel that meets the specifications defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D975 for diesel and by ASTM D7467 for biodiesel blends between B6 and B20. Ford also recommends TopTier diesel for its vehicles because it is cleaner, more stable, reduces deposits, and increases lubricity. For more info on this please check out this site

The petrol engines used in this generation are either 3.5L or 3.7L and the recommendation is to use regular unleaded fuel with a minimum octane rating of 87. Similarly to the Ford Escape, or Ford Focus among others, for improved performance of EcoBoost engines, such as that available in 3,5L, the recommendation is to use premium fuel particularly for heavy-duty usage such as trailer tow.

However, that’s a pretty common recommendation for most Fords, and even workhorse vehicles like the Explorer can benefit from premium fuel when towing or hauling heavy loads.

In case Ford Transit is Flex-Fuel capable, indicated by the yellow-colored fuel inlet housing, then E85, which contains 85% ethanol, can also be used. That’s true of most Ford vehicles that take E85 including the ever-popular Fusion among many others like the Ford Escape which has a few years that include Flex Fuel capability.

As in the case of diesel, Ford recommends using TopTier gas for its vehicles.

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

Besides fossil fuels, a number of other fuel types are available that meet one or more requirements or considerations. Some are cleaner-burning fuels that meet certain criteria laid out by EPA, while others have been formulated to lessen dependency on fossil fuels, and then there are some that reduce engine corrosion and act as lubricants.

However, not all fuels are recommended for use by manufacturers in their vehicles. In the next few sections, we will list down the types of fuel that should not be used in Transit.

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated Gasoline or RFG is a gasoline blend that produces relatively lower amounts of toxic emissions and hence is a cleaner-burning fuel that helps to reduce smog and other poisonous pollutants in the air. Ford recommends not to use reformulated gasoline that contain MTBE (Methyl tert-butyl ether) greater than 15% or ethanol greater than 10%.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

Almost all fuel sold in the U.S. is a blend of chemical compounds. When chemical compounds contain oxygen as part of the molecular structure, then such compounds are called oxygenates. Federal mandate requires that all finished gasoline sold in the USA must contain a minimum of 10% ethanol, which is your regular unleaded fuel with an octane rating of 87.

Bar, Flex-Fuel capable vehicle, Ford prohibits the use of any oxygenated fuel that contains more than 10% ethanol. For Flex-Fuel vehicles, Ford recommends not to use any fuel that has more than 85% ethanol.

To find out whether your car is Flex-Fuel capable or not, check the fuel cap; if it is yellow colored then it is safe to use Flex-Fuel.

Gasoline With Added Materials

In order to catch consumer attention and to increase sales, fuel suppliers and manufacturers now add a host of materials as additives claiming that these additives increase the octane rating, reduce engine wear and tear, or increase the lubricity of fuel, or increase the compression ratio.

Many materials can be added to fuel but Ford generally recommends not to use gasoline that has added material especially if the fuel being used is of good quality. Ford only recommends the use of TopTier gasoline in its vehicles. Gasoline should not be used, if it contains more than 85% ethanol, or is mixed with diesel, kerosene, methanol, or paraffin, or contains metallic-based additives or lead.

For diesel variants, alcohol should not be used as an additive to correct fuel gelling because it can cause damage to fuel injectors. Instead, it is recommended to use proper anti-gel and performance improvement products.

Among prohibited additives to diesel fuel is any diesel not intended for highway use because it may damage the fuel injection system or engine. Gasoline, gasohol or alcohol should never be mixed with diesel fuel because it creates a serious fire hazard and engine performance problems.

Used engine oil should never be blended with diesel because it significantly increases the vehicle’s exhaust emissions and reduces engine life due to increased internal wear. Repair of damage caused by the use of prohibited fuels for which the vehicle was not designed may not be covered by the warranty.

Gasoline With MMT

MMT is an acronym for Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl. It is produced by Afon Chemical and is used as a gasoline enhancer. In the USA, gasoline must not contain more than 1/32 grams of manganese per gallon.

Ford recommends not to use MMT-based gasoline including other models like the Ford Bronco as you can read here, because it could impair engine performance and affect the emission control system.


Ford allows normal diesel that is blended with 20% biodiesel. Any blending higher than this percentage is not allowed.

Ford Transit owner manual provides detailed guidance regarding the quality of diesel fuel. For starters, if properly formulated diesel is used then Ford recommends not to add any additives to the fuel tank because these can damage the injector system or the engine.

Ford advises against using diesel that has not been properly formulated for ambient conditions because of the likelihood of fuel filter clogging. If clogging is suspected while using biodiesel then the recommended is to use a fuel with lower content of biodiesel or use another brand or discontinue biodiesel use.

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

What is engine knocking? Knocking is the result of uneven burning of fuel in the engine’s cylinders. With the correct balance of air and fuel in cylinders, fuel burns in small, regulated pockets instead of all at once. Engine knocking happens when fuel burns unevenly and those shocks go off at the wrong time.

By reading our articles about other Ford models you will see that slight engine knock should not be the cause of worry as using better quality gas should normally solve the problem.

If however, it knocks heavily under most driving conditions even when using fuel with the recommended octane rating, then it is recommended to consult an authorized dealership, in order to prevent engine damage.

Does the Ford Transit Have Good Gas Mileage?

Generally, we refer to the site for fuel economy data. This is the official U.S. government source for fuel economy data and is regarded as being quite accurate. Unfortunately, in the case of Ford Transit the data that is available on this site is incomplete so we had to look at other resources to extract this data.

3.5 L Regular gasoline (years 2015-2021), Flex-Fuel (2020-21)

FuelCombined MPGCity MPGHighway MPG
Regular gasoline161519

3.7 L Regular gasoline (years 2015-2019), Flex-Fuel (2015-19)

FuelCombined MPGCity MPGHighway MPG
Regular gasoline161418

We could not find similar data for diesel engines but the combined average for a 3.2L diesel engines is supposedly 22 MPG. The 2.0L engine has a combined average of about 35 MPG

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of Ford Transit?

All Ford Transit’s manufactured between 2015 and 2019, whether running on gas or diesel, have a fuel tank size of 25.1 gallons. Beginning from 2020 the fuel tank size is either 25.1 gallons or 30.5 gallons.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up Ford Transit?

The current average regular gas, diesel, E85 prices in the USA respectively are 3.409 / gallon, 3.644 / gallon, and 3.086 / gallon. Based on these prices the cost to fill a Ford-based on fuel tank size and cost per gallon of each fuel type is given in the table below.

Tank sizeCost to fill with regular gas @ $3.409 / gallonCost to fill with diesel @ $3.644 / gallonCost to fill with E85 @ $3.086 / gallon

If you refill your tank in California, then you would be paying the highest price per gallon, which is $4.711, and for a full 30.5 gallons, your total would be approximately $145.

On the other hand, if you are in Oklahoma, you would be paying the least amount per gallon, which is $2.955, and for 25.1 gallons, your total would be approximately $75.

So overall, the price for a full tank, from the smallest size available to the largest one there is, can be somewhere between $75-$145 depending on which state you are in. Our research has shown that gas prices are going up steadily. These prices have been calculated at the time of writing this article.

Closing Thoughts

As we draw this exploration of Ford Transit’s fuel requirements to a close, it becomes clear that understanding your vehicle’s specific fuel needs is not only vital for its optimum performance but also for its longevity.

Taking into account the diversity in tank sizes and varying fuel economy data across different Ford Transit models, being informed about these aspects can significantly enhance your ownership experience. Such knowledge is beneficial for efficiently planning your refuels and accurately estimating travel ranges.

While understanding your vehicle’s fuel needs is crucial, awareness of potential issues that could arise during your Ford Transit’s lifespan is equally important, something we covered in our “Common Ford Transit Problems” article.

For those interested in modifications or customization of your Transit, understanding the vehicle’s specific aspects, such as its bolt pattern, is also of paramount importance.

Stay tuned for more comprehensive guides on understanding your Ford vehicles, their fuel requirements, and everything else you need for an enriched driving experience. Happy driving!


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