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Types Of Gas A GMC Canyon Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A GMC Canyon Takes (Explained)

With hiking fuel prices, it has become ever so difficult to keep up when you have a passion for trucks and off-roading. Today we will be looking at the GMC Canyon to see how fuel-friendly this truck is. There are various engine types, and we will look at what GMC suggests as the best fuel type for their Canyon line of trucks.

GMC recommends a minimum octane rating of 87 for the current generation 2.5-liter 4 cylinders and a 3.6-liter V6 engine. For the 2.8-liter Turbo-Diesel, GMC recommends 1-D for regions where temperatures fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 2-D for others. For the first generation of Canyon, a minimum octane rating of 87 is recommended for all the gasoline engines, including 2.8, 2.9, 3.5, and 3.7-liter variants.

Since the GMC Canyon was offered in 2003, it has shown reasonable numbers concerning its sales. However, the truck certainly hasn’t performed as well as its identical twin: the Chevrolet Colorado. Let us look at what kind of gasoline the different generations of the Canyon need and best practices regarding the fuel. Read on!

Infographic explaining the different fuel types for a GMC Canyon.

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

2015 – present

The current generation of American-made GMC Canyon was introduced in 2015 with an all-new design. This is the only GMC Canyon generation with a diesel variant, GM’s well-reputed Duramax Diesel engine. Let us look at what GMC recommends as the minimum fuel grade for these engines.

The current generation of GMC Canyon is offered three engines. There is a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine that produces 200 HP. The upper variant is a 3.6-liter gasoline engine that produces 308 HP. And finally, a Duramax Diesel engine is a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel that puts out 181 HP but offers greater torque than the gasoline variants.

For the gasoline engines, as the owner’s manuals for GMC Canyon, a minimum octane rating of 87 is recommended by GMC. This is a bare minimum standard for all gasoline engines GMC offers for the GMC Canyon 2nd generation model. It will still be advisable to use a higher grade octane for the gasoline engines.

For the Duramax Turbo-diesel engine, GMC suggests Canyon owners opt for 2-D if they are in regions where the climate doesn’t reach 0 degrees F temperatures. For areas where 0 degrees Fahrenheit is a routine, using 1-D type diesel fuel for the GMC Canyon is advisable. Usually, a low-sulfur diesel should be used, and it should not be more than 15 ppm sulfur in any use case.

EngineRecommended fuel type
2.5 liter 200 HP87-grade octane minimum
3.6 liter 308 HP87-grade octane minimum
Duramax 2.8 liter 181 HP (colder climates)1-D
Duramax 2.8 liter 181 HP (hotter climates)2-D


After the GMC Canyon built some sales numbers, it was already six years in production. It was time for a facelift, and GMC, looking at the sales and market trends, gave the GMC Canyon a facelift in 2009. This year GMC also decided to make a change to the engine configurations.

The GMC Canyon, from the year 2009 – 2012, was offered with three different engines. A base model 2.9 liter 185 HP engine, a 3.7 liter 241 HP engine, and a top of the line 5.3 liter V8 that could produce 300 HP. These were among the best engines offered by any truck manufacturer at the time.

Since no diesel engine was offered for sale on the facelifted 1st generation of the GMC Canyon, all the owner’s manuals for the Canyon suggest that the minimum recommended octane grade for use for these engines is 87.

EngineRecommended Fuel Type
2.9 liter 185 HP87-grade octane minimum
3.7 liter 241 HP87-grade octane minimum
5.3 liter 300 HP87-grade octane minimum


The first generation of the GMC Canyon was offered from 2003 – 2008, after which it received a facelift. From 2003 – 2008, the Canyon was provided with four engine configurations. A 2.8 liter 175 HP engine, a 2.9 liter 242 HP engine, a 3.5 liter 220 HP engine, and finally, a 3.7 liter 242 HP engine.

According to the owner’s manuals for these engine types, the recommended fuel type by GMC was one with a minimum octane rating of 87 or above. There have been drivers who opted for higher octane-rated fuels as well, but the bare minimum, according to GMC, was at least 87.

EngineRecommended Fuel Type
2.8 liter 175 HP87-grade octane minimum
2.9 Liter 242 HP87-grade octane minimum
3.5 liter 220 HP87-grade octane minimum
3.7 liter 242 HP87-grade octane minimum

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

Other than regular gasoline, there are various types of gasoline on sale today. We will now see the suitability of such gasoline variants for the GMC Canyon and determine whether Canyon owners should go for these or should refrain from these types of fuel.

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated Gasoline has been formulated to burn cleaner and greener and has a small carbon footprint on the environment. Compared to regular gasoline, it reduces smog formation, and emissions have less toxic pollutants. This is mainly a popular choice in states with air-quality issues.

For the first generation of GMC Canyon, the owner’s manuals say that GMC suggests using RFG since it is a cleaner and greener fuel with minimized effect on our environment.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

In addition to other types of gasoline, one prevalent type is E-85 which contains an 85% to 15% ratio between Ethanol and Regular Gasoline. The cars that are E-85 compatible are the ones whose owners don’t care much about fuel efficiency since these are usually higher-performance engines.

GMC strictly advises against the use of E-85 fuel for its engines. They clearly state that only up to 10% ethanol mixed with regular gasoline can be used in their gasoline engines.

Usually, the vehicles that are compatible with E-85 fuels have various identifiers to tell their driver that E-85 may be used on such cars. These markings could be a FlexFuel Badge or a fuel cap that clearly states E-85 compatible.

For vehicles that can be run on E-85, there is still a chance of running into some issues that can be prevented by taking the following measures:

  • To add at least 5 gallons of fuel at the time of refueling
  • To keep the vehicle operational for a minimum of 5 minutes after refueling

There could be some problem symptoms that are associated with E-85 usage, for instance:

  • In more than 90° F temperatures, one might feel the engine is hard to start and idles rough even when the measures mentioned earlier are taken
  • When E-85 is used in addition to some additives, it might result in the formation of deposits inside the engine and leave some residue behind

Gasoline With Added Materials

We have available some gasoline types that come premixed with various chemicals such as detergents, anti-corrosion agents, stability additives, etc. These serve multiple purposes concerning the engine life of your vehicle. Top Tier Gas is the only recommended supplier that GMC considers worth endorsing for such types of gasoline.

GMC recommends using Top Tier Detergent gasoline to keep your engine running fine with added engine cleaning benefits for both the first and second generation of GMC Canyon gasoline engines.

Gasoline With MMT

There are gasoline types that include a specific octane enhancer called MMT, which reduces spark-plug life. Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT) is also known for lowering emissions systems performance. GMC does not recommend the use of gasoline with MMT for their gasoline engines. This holds for both generations of the GMC Canyon that comes with gasoline engines.

So, it’s not a gas for GMC Terrain, Yukon, or other GMC models for that matter.

To check if specific gasoline includes MMT, please ask the supplier or the gas station where you fill up your car’s gas from.


Biodiesels are obtained mainly from soybean oil. It is a biodegradable type of diesel that may also be sourced from yellow grease and even canola in some cases, and soybean. The GMC Canyon also comes as a diesel variant compatible with biodiesel fuel type.

In the owner’s manual for the Duramax Diesel engine, GMC states not to use diesel fuels with a blend of more than 20% of biodiesel.

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

From novice to pro drivers, everyone hates the knocking sound from the engine. Usually, it is caused by using a lower grade of octane. This is also known as spark knock. As GMC suggests the use of 87 as a minimum octane grade, there is a high chance that you might hear the knocking sound if you fill up the tank with 87 or less octane grade.

This is nothing to panic about and can be easily fixed by using a higher octane grade. As with many GMC models, according to GMC, if the fuel used is higher than 87-grade octane and still, the spark knock is audible, it is time to get the engine serviced as a priority.

Does the GMC Canyon Have Good Gas Mileage?

Usually, SUVs and trucks are not known for excellent fuel economy. A driver buying an SUV or a Truck has acceptability for around 25 MPG as a general rule of thumb. Let us see how the GMC Canyon holds up when it comes to fuel economy expectations.

2015 – Present

The current model of the GMC Canyon is offered with three engines. Two gasoline engines displacing at 2.5 and 3.6 liters, respectively, and a diesel engine at 2.8 liters. The diesel variant ranges from 22 MPG to 30 MPG. The 2.5-liter gasoline engine does 20 MPG on a rough day with up to 26 MPG on its best day. The 3.6-liter engine ranges from 18 to 25 MPG.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.8 liter Duramax2230
2.5 liter 200 HP2026
3.6 liter 308 HP1825

2009 – 2012

The facelifted GMC Canyon was offered for sale with three gasoline engines. These were 2.9-liter, 3.7-liter, and a 300 HP 5.3 liter V8. The smallest 2.9-liter engine achieved 18 MPG on a rough day and up to 24 MPG on a good day. The 3.7-liter reached a low 17 MPG number and went as high as 23 MPG at its peak. The 5.3-liter engine was an actual gas guzzler at 15 MPG and did not achieve more than 20 MPG at its best.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.9 liter 185 HP1824
3.7 liter 241 HP1723
5.3 liter 300 HP1520

2003 – 2008

The engines offered during the five years from 2003 till 2008 were gasoline only. There were four different engine sizes on sale. 2.8 liter, 2.9-liter, 3.5, and 3.7-liter. The 2.8-liter variant ranges from 15 MPG to 22 MPG for the auto transmission and 18 MPG to 25 MPG for the manual transmission models. The 2.9-liter auto variant ranges from 15 to 21 MPG, and the manual variant goes from 16 to 22 MPG.

The bigger 3.5-liter engine with the automatic transmission did 16 to 21 MPG, and the manual variant achieved 17 to 22 MPG. The biggest of them, all 3.7-liter engines, did from 15 to 20 MPG for the automatic transmission version, and for the manual transmission version, it did 16 to 21 MPG.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.8 liter 175 HP Auto1522
2.8 liter 175 HP Manual1825
2.9 liter 242 HP Auto1521
2.9 liter 242 HP Manual1622
3.5 liter 220 HP Auto1621
3.5 liter 200 HP Manual1722
3.7 liter 242 HP Auto1520
3.7 liter 242 HP Manual1621

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of A GMC Canyon?

The fuel tank size for GMC Canyon is 19.5 gallons for the first generation, both for the pre-facelift and facelifted models. The fuel tank capacity for the 2nd generation GMC Canyon trucks was increased to 21 gallons, reducing the fuel stops on longer journeys.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up A GMC Canyon?

Since Texas has the cheapest fuel available across all states to fill up the tank of the older generation of GMC Canyon, it will cost you $56.59. In California, it will cost you $86.50 to fill up the same tank.

The second generation of GMC Canyon will cost you $ 60.95 in Texas and $ 93.15 in California.

The diesel prices in Mississippi are the lowest, and it will cost you $ 65.16 to fill up the 21-gallon tank in Mississippi. However, in California, the same tank will cost you $ 94.25 to fill up.

GenerationFuel tank size (Gallons)Cost (Cheapest)Cost (Most Expensive)
2003 till 201219.5$56.59$86.50
2012 till current gasoline21$60.95$93.15
2012 till present, Duramax Diesel21$65.16$94.25


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