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Types Of Gas A Toyota 4Runner Uses (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Toyota 4Runner Uses (Explained)

Whether you are getting your first Toyota vehicle or already driving one, you always have questions about your car and we’ve talked extensively about different Toyota models, including the Toyota Tacoma fuel type, Avalon, RAV4, and many more.

Today, In this post, we will be looking at what gas a Toyota 4Runner requires. We do a lot of research to present you with the most appropriate information on the question you have. For the information, we went through various articles and different years’ owners’ manuals of Toyota 4Runner manufactured from 2012 to 2021.

All generations of the Toyota 4Runner are designed to use high-quality “unleaded gasoline” with an octane rating of 87 or higher. As mentioned in the owner’s manual: ‘use of unleaded gasoline with an octane rating lower than 87 may knock the engine.’ Toyota, therefore, recommends using 91 octane fuel, but you can also use 87 octane safely.

However, that does not give complete information about Toyota 4runner gas. Below we will talk about what fuel or gas Toyota 4Runner needs for better performance and durability. Furthermore, in the blog, we will discuss what to do for Engine Knocking, the Gas Mileage, the fuel tank size, and the cost to fill it. But firstly, let’s see in detail what fuel a Toyota 4Runner requires based on different engines.

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Infographic about the fuel types for a Toyota 4Runner

Fuel Requirement Based On Engine Type

To provide you with the appropriate answer, we examined the fuel requirements of different years’ models of Toyota 4Runner to give you a brief. Read below to know more about it.


2016-2021 Toyota 4Runner comes in 2WD and 4WD automatic (S5),  is equipped with a 4L V6 6-cylinder engine that delivers 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. It performs the best with high-quality regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87.

As we know, an octane rating greater than 87 can cause pre-ignition, and lower octane can reduce performance and fuel economy. The additives of unleaded gasoline prevent engine problems, increase combustion power and reduce emissions.


The 2012 to 2015 Toyota 4Runner comes with 2WD and 4WD options and is again powered by a 4L, 6-cylinder V type automatic (S5) engine that requires high-quality regular unleaded gasoline to give the best performance.

Premium Gasoline is not recommended for your car as it is a high octane rating fuel, but using it in your Toyota does not provide any extra power to your 4Runner. Instead, it becomes undoubtedly more expensive than regular unleaded gas due to its higher octane rating.

Also, there aren’t any Toyota models that require high octane fuel for better performance. So it is advised to use the minimum octane rating marked in the owner’s manual.

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

There is a wide range of options when it comes to what fuel you want to use for your Toyota 4Runner. From conventional/regular gasoline to Ethanol, it can be unclear which fuel is appropriate for your 4Runner.

Basic knowledge of fuel types is always helpful for any Toyota owner to improve the function of your car. Below are the different types of fuels with their characteristics so that you get precise information about which fuel should or should not be used for your Toyota 4Runner.

Reformulated Gasoline

Reformulated gasoline (RFG) is a type of gasoline blended to burn cleaner than regular gasoline and reduce smog-forming and toxic pollutants in the air we breathe. It emits between 5% and 17% less pollution than regular gasoline.

More than one-third, or 85 million people of the US, live in cities where the air quickly degrades health and standards, owing mainly to automatic pollutants vehicles. The US Congress also mandated a reformulated gasoline program in the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. Approximately 30% of the gasoline sold in the United States today is reformulated.

It is also stated in the owner’s manual of Toyota 4Runner Reformulated Gasoline is strongly recommended as it reduces a wide range of gasoline emissions.

Gasoline Containing Ethanol

Toyota recommends using Gasoline Detergent additives for your 4Runner because it can clean parts of your engine while helping to prevent new or additional accumulation.

Ethanol is typically added to gasoline to aid in the preservation of fossil fuels; to put it simply, it extends the life of the gas and aids in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Most gasoline used in the United States contains around 10% ethanol or less to reduce gasoline carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore Ethanol proves to be a good additive of gasoline for Toyota 4Runner.

Gasoline Containing Ether

Along with advancements in automobile technology, the use of fuel ethers as gasoline components has, both directly and indirectly, contributed to cleaner air in Europe and the US.

Fuel ethers reduce exhaust pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates (PM). It reduces the overall vapor pressure of petrol and the associated evaporative emissions to the air, which causes ozone.

They help reduce the evaporation and permeation of high volatile organic carbons in finished gasoline, resulting in less ozone formation. As a result, using fuel ethers in Toyota 4Runner indirectly aid in the reduction of toxic substance emissions into the atmosphere.

Gasoline Containing Detergent Additives

Toyota recommends using Gasoline Detergent additives for your 4Runner that can clean parts of your engine while helping to prevent new or additional accumulation.

Fuel additives help to extend engine life by removing carbon deposits from the engine system that would otherwise accumulate in the combustion chamber, resulting in poor engine performance.

Since detergent additives help prevent the accumulation of engine “gunk,” that causes various mechanical issues such as it typically accumulates in fuel injectors and on intake valves, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency, acceleration, and power if severe.

Therefore, it is recommended to regularly use Top Tier Detergent Gasoline in the Toyota 4Runner as it keeps the engines clean. For more information about Top Tier Detergent gasoline and distributors, go to for more details.

Gasoline Containing Blended Gasoline

In the owner’s manual of Toyota 4Runner from 2012-2021, it is mentioned to use gasoline containing up to only 15% ethanol labeled as E15. E15 has an octane rating of 88, while in E10, it is 87, which is recommended for your 4Runner as running E30, E50, or E85 can ruin your engine in a short time.

Due to more ethanol components in E30, E50, or E85, it is more likely to break down the rubber seals in the vehicle that can eventually damage the engine and ignite before the piston compresses. High octane fuels may cause engines with extremely low compression ratios to perform poorly.

Non-Recommendation of Methanol

One of the most significant disadvantages of using methanol in gasoline is the corrosive effects of methanol.

It is safe to use in small amounts. Still, uncontrolled and unregulated mixing can result in concentrations high enough to cause additional wear and damage to the fuel system over time.

Historically methanol has been present in gasoline blends in the form of MTBE, which has been banned and was substituted by ETBE as MTBE has a high amount of formaldehyde emissions and is slightly higher than Gasoline.

Non-Recommendation of Gasoline Containing MMT

Extensive and long-term use of gasoline containing MMT results in the accumulation of Mn-containing deposits on engine and emissions system components, reducing vehicle emissions performance and durability.           

Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl (MMT) is a highly poisonous neurotoxin substance, and automakers’ studies have also concluded that the use of MMT is harmful under specific test conditions, contributing to catalyst plugging, deteriorated performance, and increased emissions.

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

Engine knocking occurs when the fuel burns unevenly or your engine’s cylinder and the shocks activate at the wrong time. As a result, there is an obnoxious noise and potential damage to your engine’s cylinder walls and pistons.

Few engine knocking causes can be faulty spark plugs, low octane fuel, or excess carbon buildup leading to combustion problems and damage to your Toyota 4Runner engine’s cylinder.

Ways to fix the knocking is:

  • Change your vehicle’s oil on a regular basis and keep an eye out for low oil levels.
  • Upgrade to higher octane-rated gasoline.
  • Replace the spark plugs and wires in your engine and give it a tune-up or else consult your Toyota Dealer.

How Much Is The Gas Mileage Of Various Models Of Toyota 4Runner?


The Toyota 4Runner with 4.0L, 4WD engine has 16 miles per gallon in the city while 21 miles per gallon on the highway and has a combined MPG of 17-19. In comparison, 4.0L 2WD engines were rated 17/21 city/highway and have a combined MPG of 18.

4.0L (4WD)161917
4.0L (2WD)172118
4.0L (2WD)162118


The 4.0L (2WD) engine of Toyota 4Runner has an average mileage of 17 miles per gallon in the city while it gives the average mileage of 22 miles per gallon on the highway and has a combined MPG of 17-21. In comparison, the 4.0L (4WD) engine was rated 17/21 city/highway respectively and had a combined MPG of 18.

4.0 L (2WD)172219
4.0L (4WD)172118
4.0L (2WD)172319

You can also check out this real-world test of the 2022 4Runner for even more information on it’s fuel efficiency:

What Is The Fuel Tank Capacity Of Toyota 4Runner?

The Toyota 4Runner from 2012 to 2021 comes with an option of 2WD and a 4WD with 4.0L, 6-cylinder automatic (S5) engine has a standard tank size of 23 gallons that can give drivers a maximum driving range of approximately 437 miles.

That’s typical of other Toyota SUVs like the Sequoia which is similar to the 4Runner in both fuel tank size and fuel requirements.

When it comes to long-distance travel, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner is ready to help you enjoy the ride for as long as possible. This vehicle also comes standard with Part-time 4WD and Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) to help you maintain control of your vehicle while driving.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up A Toyota 4Runner?

On average, it will cost up to $73 to fill up a tank of 23 gallons, and the cost to drive 25 miles is approximately $4.18. Filling up the tank of 4Runner is the cheapest in Mississippi and will cost you around $66.4 to $71.35. 

While it will cost around $105.25to $111.15 in California, being the most expensive state in the US to fill the fuel tank of the Toyota 4Runner.

Closing Thoughts

All Toyota 4Runner models from 2012 to 2021 are designed to run optimally on high-quality unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher. While Toyota recommends 91 octane fuel, using 87 octane is still safe and won’t harm the vehicle.

However, knowing the fuel type isn’t the full story. To maintain your 4Runner’s performance and ensure its longevity, a deeper understanding of fuel choices, potential engine knocking, fuel economy, fuel tank size, and related costs is important.

Armed with this comprehensive knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to handle your 4Runner’s fuel-related needs and decisions. Always remember to consult the vehicle’s manual or a trusted automotive professional for any specific questions or concerns you might have. Keep your 4Runner performing at its best by making informed fuel decisions. Happy driving!


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