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Types Of Gas A Subaru Crosstrek Takes (All Generations)

Types Of Gas A Subaru Crosstrek Takes (All Generations)

We’ve written extensively about the Subaru Crosstrek, its capabilities, and various features on this blog. Today, we will talk about what fuel this crossover needs and what fuels are strictly prohibited. Let’s start with a quick answer:

All generations of the Subaru XV Crosstrek (2012 – 2015) and the Subaru Crosstrek (2015 – Present-day) take regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. This includes the hybrid gasoline version of the Crosstrek.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Below we’ve outlined recommendations and requirements for different kinds of fuels and fuel additives. We’ll also go into detail about the compatibility of the Crosstrek with oxygenated blends. Furthermore, we discuss the tank size of these generations. Read on!

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Infographic explaining the different fuel types for a Subaru Crosstrek

Premium Gasoline

The use of premium gasoline and whether or not it’s not a better option all of the time is always a hot topic. However, we want to make clear that using premium gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher has no benefits for any generation of the Subaru Crosstrek.

Many people believe that premium gasoline always helps the car perform better and is also better in terms of the Subaru Crosstrek average lifespan and the lifespan of the car’s components. However, premium gasoline is only helpful for engines that are specifically designed to take high octane gasoline.

Yes, the Subaru Crosstrek would still be capable of using premium gasoline without any problem. However, there will be no benefits to the car, and the price you pay for a full tank of gasoline would be a lot higher. You also should not mix different octane fuels.

Reformulated Gasoline

Another topic we need to discuss is the use of reformulated gasoline. Reformulated gasoline is gasoline that was first introduced in California about two decades ago. The gasoline is designed to burn more cleanly and therefore cause fewer emissions, increasing the air quality in the region compared to non-reformulated gasoline.

These days reformulated gasoline is mandatory in 19 different areas of the United States. Therefore, it’s good to know that all generations and models of the Crosstrek are fully compatible with reformulated gasoline. Furthermore, Subaru actually recommends the use of this gasoline whenever it’s available.

Reformulated gasoline does not have any adverse effect on your engine or the fuel system. It does not cost more and will also not decrease the performance of your Subaru Crosstrek. It’s, therefore, a better choice overall. Reformulated gas works in all Subarus, including the Subaru Legacy, Outback, Impreza, and Forester.

Oxygenated Blends

Oxygenated blends of gasoline contain certain chemicals such as methanol or ethanol. These chemicals help the car during winter when temperatures drop significantly. It’s good to know that the inappropriate use of these chemicals can seriously damage the engine and the fuel system, and it’s therefore advised you follow the below-mentioned guidelines:

  • All generations of the Subaru Crosstrek and XV can use fuel with a maximum percentage of 5% methanol. This rule is only applicable if the fuel is accompanied by sufficient quantities of the proper cosolvents and corrosion inhibitors required to prevent damage to the fuel system.
  • All generations of the Subaru Crosstrek and XV can use fuel with a maximum percentage of 10% ethanol. The only expection to this is the 2017+ model with the 2.0L engine which can take a maximum of 15% ethanol.

Using methanol or a higher than recommended ethanol level will result in a whole range of problems such as:

  • Poor accelaration
  • Check engine light coming on
  • Knocking of the engine (more on that in a later subheading).

Gasoline With Additives

These days you also have many options in terms of additives that can be added to your fuel. Additives supposedly help your car in terms of performance or decrease the amount of deposits in your engine and fuel system. However, can they be used with the Crosstrek?

It’s advised you do not add any form of additives to the fuel yourself. The reason for this is that many of these additives contain materials such as silicon or metallics, which will damage the engine when used. Furthermore, they may not improve the car’s performance since the engine can only use regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87.

Instead, Subaru advises you to use fuel that already has suitable additives mixed into it. This type of gasoline can be bought at certified TOP TIER gas retailers. They sell gas that’s free of silicon or metallics, but that does help the engine clean itself. You can find a certified retailer at

Engine Knock After Refilling

Finally, it’s essential to know what to do when an engine knock occurs. A slight knocking sound is entirely typical, especially when the car is performing at peak levels, such as when towing or driving up a hill. However, if the engine knocking sound becomes loud and occurs immediately after refilling, then you’ve likely used fuel with a lower than recommended octane rating.

In this case, it’s advised you stop the car immediately and contact your dealer. You will likely need to drain the vehicle from the fuel, replace the fuel filter, disconnect, and reconnect the car’s battery to reset its memory.

Continuing to drive with a heavy knocking sound will result in severe damage to the engine and the car’s fuel system that’s not covered under warranty.

Fuel Tank Size Per Generation

  • Subaru (XV) Crosstreks manufactured between 2012 – 2017 have a fuel tank size of 14.5 gallons or 55 liters. Crosstreks manufactured between 2017 – Present-day have a fuel tank size of 16.6 gallons or 63 liters.

Closing Thoughts

In this post, we have explored in detail the fuel requirements and recommendations for the Subaru XV Crosstrek (2012 – 2015) and the Subaru Crosstrek (2015 – present-day). The proper fuel to use is regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87, including for the hybrid gasoline model.

By understanding the fuel requirements for your Crosstrek, it ensures not only optimal performance but safeguards your vehicle from damage from using the wrong fuel type. Follow the recommendations outlined to guarantee a smooth and efficient driving experience with your Subaru Crosstrek. Stay tuned to our blog for more insights and guides on getting the best out of your vehicle. Thank you for reading!


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