Skip to Content

Types Of Gas A Toyota Highlander Uses (All Generations)

Types Of Gas A Toyota Highlander Uses (All Generations)

Today, we’ll take a look at the Toyota Highlander to see what kind of fuel it runs on. It’s far from the first Toyota vehicle we’ve looked at and it won’t be the last either.

We searched through all of the Toyota Highlander owner’s manuals produced since 2013 to find the answer. In a nutshell, here’s the answer:

All Toyota Highlanders manufactured from 2013 onwards use high-quality unleaded regular fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher. Premium fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher can be used but is not recommended since it has no benefits over regular gasoline.

But that’s not the whole story. Below, we will look at the various types of gas and diesel fuel you should use in your Toyota Highlander in much more detail. Furthermore, we will also discuss the different types of gas that are better or worse for the longevity and performance of your engine for your Highlander. Finally, we will discuss some more features of Toyota Highlander’s fuel economy.

Want to save money on gasoline? earn up to $0.25/gallon every time you fill up? GetUpside is a free-to-use cashback app for US gas stations. Use coupon code THEDRIVERADVISER25and earn an additional $0.25/gallon the first time! Click here to download the app for Android or iOS.

Infographic about the fuel types for a Toyota Highlander

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

2020 – Present

The 2020 – Present Toyota Highlander, which comes with both standard and AWD options, boasts a 295.0-hp, 3.5-liter V6 Cylinder Engine and is designed to run on high-quality unleaded “normal” fuel with an octane value of 87 or higher. While the Highlander’s engine has its own set of issues, as does any other vehicle, it’s overall quite reliable.

The 2020–Present Toyota Highlander also has a Hybrid variant, which comes with the option of Normal, Limited Edition, and AWD mode, has a 243.0-hp, 2.5-liter, Four-Cylinder Engine is designed to run on a high-quality unleaded “regular” gasoline with an octane rating of 87. That’s similar to other Toyota hybrids like the RAV4 and the legendary Toyota Prius which both work great with 87 octane fuel.

Premium gasoline, or gasoline with an octane rating of more than 91, is not recommended for this vehicle because it provides no advantage above regular gasoline. The Toyota Highlander’s engine is designed to handle gasoline with an octane value of average to moderate.

2013 – 2019

The 2013 – 2019 Toyota Highlander, which comes with both standard and AWD options, has a 295.0-hp, 3.5-liter V6 Cylinder Engine and is designed to run on high-quality unleaded “normal” fuel with an octane value of 87 or higher.

The 2013 – 2019 Toyota Highlander standard version, which comes with both standard and AWD options, has a 185.0-hp, 2.7-liter 4 Cylinder Engine, designed to run on high-quality unleaded “normal” fuel with an octane value of 87 or higher.

The Toyota Highlander’s engine is designed to handle gasoline with an octane rating of average to moderate, so premium gasoline, or gasoline with an octane rating of more than 91, is not recommended for this vehicle because it offers no benefit over regular gasoline.

Does The Toyota Highlander Require Premium Fuel?

Your Toyota Highlander doesn’t need premium gas. It’s designed to run efficiently on regular unleaded fuel. Using premium won’t significantly improve performance or economy, but won’t harm your engine either. Save your money and enjoy the ride with regular unleaded fuel.

What Type Of Fuel Does The Toyota Highlander Hybrid Use?

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is designed to run optimally on regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. This holds true even though it’s a hybrid model. There’s no need to spend extra on higher-octane fuel, as it won’t significantly improve the vehicle’s performance or fuel economy.

Diving a bit deeper, you may wonder if a hybrid would require a different type of fuel, but that’s not the case here. The Highlander Hybrid combines an electric motor with a traditional combustion engine, which is designed to run on the same fuel as a non-hybrid Highlander.

While you might think premium fuel could offer some benefits, the Highlander Hybrid isn’t designed to take advantage of the higher octane level in premium gas. Using it won’t harm your vehicle, but it also won’t provide noticeable improvements in performance or efficiency. It’s essentially an unnecessary expense for Highlander Hybrid owners.

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

Aside from regular/conventional gasoline, the market today provides a varied selection of gasoline. Toyota has said whether or not the Highlander will be able to use this type of gas in numerous of them.

Let’s take a look at what we have.

Gasoline with detergent additives

Detergents additives are made to clean deposits off of intake valves, fuel injectors, carburetors, and other fuel system components. These additives can increase overall engine performance and assist in reducing carbon emissions in addition to offering additional protection.

To reduce the collection of engine deposits, Toyota suggests using gasoline with detergent additives. According to the EPA’s lowest additives concentration program, all gasoline sold in the United States contains a minimal quantity of detergent additives to clean and/or maintain clean intake systems.

Toyota strongly recommends using premium detergent fuel. All trims of Toyota with all years from 2013 – Present are compatible with detergent additives. To know more about gasoline with detergent additives, nearby stations, and the list of its marketers, you can check it here.

Top-Tier Detergent Gasoline is the standard performance specification and standard detergent gasoline, which Toyota highly recommends.

Emissions-free gasoline

It is a commonly utilized sustainable form of gasoline that primarily employs carbon dioxide (CO2) as a raw material before producing synthetic gasoline. The main benefit of this type of gasoline is that it releases fewer hazardous chemicals, which helps to prevent smog production because it burns cleaner than regular gasoline.

In some cities of the US, gasoline with oxygenates such as ethers and ethanol, as well as reformulated gasoline, are available. These fuels are usually safe to use as long as all other fuel criteria are met.

Toyota recommends these fuels because of their composition, which allows for fewer vehicle emissions. All Toyota trims from 2016 to the present are compatible with zero-emission fuel.

Cleaner-burning gasoline

This type of gasoline is primarily used as a substitute for emission-free fuel in older versions of Highlanders’. It is mainly advised in locations of the United States where air pollution is a concern.

Cleaner-burning gasoline is available in many regions, including reformulated gasoline containing oxygenates like ethanol or MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether).

Toyota recommends using cleaner-burning gasoline and reformulated gasoline that has been appropriately blended. These fuels boost vehicle performance while also lowering emissions and improving air quality.

Cleaner-burning gasoline, which functioned as an emissions-free fuel until 2015, is compatible with all Toyota trims from 2013 to 2015.

A mixture of blended gasoline

Blended gasoline has some benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. The higher the percentage of ethanol in gasoline, the more dirt it absorbs, causing the engine to be damaged. It may also diminish the car’s mileage.

Only use gasoline that contains up to 15% ethanol. Any flex-fuel or gasoline containing more than 15% ethanol should not be utilized for your car, including that designated E30, E50, or E85 (these are some examples of fuel containing more than 15 percent ethanol).

If you use gasoline in your vehicle, make sure it has an octane value of at least 87. Toyota does not recommend the use of methanol-containing gasoline in any trim from 2013 to the present.

Gasoline containing MMT

MMT is now not recommended for modern cars which have come up with advanced emission control systems. Moreover, increased use of MMT in gasoline produces many Manganese deposits in the engine, further deteriorating the emission system components, affecting the car’s mileage.

MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl) is an octane-boosting additive that can be found in some gasoline, but Toyota does not recommend it for their Highlander.

 If you use MMT-containing fuel, your emission control system may be harmed. Toyota does not recommend using MMT-containing gasoline in any models from 2013 to the present.

The instrument cluster’s malfunction alert lamp may illuminate in case of any problem. If this happens, make an appointment with your local Toyota dealer for service.

What Is The Difference Between Leaded And Unleaded Gasoline?

In this article, we will come across the term “Unleaded” Gasoline, so here’s an insight for better understanding. 

The ingredient tetraethyl lead is the significant difference between leaded and unleaded gasoline. 

Years ago, leaded gas was widely used, but it was eventually recognized that lead had harmful side effects when discharged into the air. 

After it was discovered that leaded gas was damaging to the environment and humans, “Unleaded gas” was developed. The phrase “unleaded” refers to ordinary gasoline.

Unleaded gasoline engines use a combination of gas and air to compress and ignite the engine with a spark. The most common type of fuel is unleaded. Unleaded fuel is most commonly & sometimes strictly recommended by automakers.

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

According to the Toyota Highlander owner’s manual, hearing a slight knocking sound from the engine is not cause for panic. It is normal if you’ve used the correct fuel type and the car is moving uphill or accelerating regularly.

You must immediately stop your vehicle and take it to a dealer if you hear a loud knocking noise. You most likely utilized gasoline with a low octane rating in this scenario.

If you use lower octane gasoline, the banging sound may become louder, and the car may stall or hesitate while driving. If you use this type of fuel in your vehicle, your New Car Warranty may be voided.

Does Toyota Highlander Have A Good Gas Mileage?

Toyota Highlander was first introduced in 2001 and many regularly last more than 250,000 miles which means some of these 2001 models are still out there.

Following its introduction in 2001, it went through several redesigns in 2008, 2014, a redesign in 2020 (for the 2021 model) which made the Highlander a Hybrid vehicle for its latest generation.

Here is a table showing various generations of Toyota Highlander, showing information such as the type of models with the different engines and the average mileage they give on the highways or in cities.

EngineYear and TypeCity MPGHighway MPG
  3.5, 3.5, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5(2020 – Present) N, AWD, H LTD, H AWD, H N  21, 20, 35, 35, 36  29, 27, 34, 35, 35
  3.5, 3.5, 2.5, 2.5(2017 – 2019) N, AWD, N, AWD  20, 20, 20, 19  27, 26, 24, 26
  3.5, 3.5, 2.5, 2.5(2013 – 2016) N, AWD, N, 2WD  20, 18, 20, 19  27, 24, 25, 25

H– Hybrid; AWD – All Wheel Drive; N – Normal; LTD – Limited; 2WD – 2 Wheel Drive

You can also check this video for a real-world fuel economy test of the 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid:

What is the Gas Tank Size of the Toyota Highlander?

When the Toyota Highlander was first launched, it had a gas tank of 19.8 gallons, but Toyota, later on, reduced the size of the fuel tank in the latest Highlander models; it can be seen below:

  • The 2020 – Present Toyota Highlander has a standard tank size of 17.9 gallons or 81.3 liters.
  • The 2020 – Present Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a standard tank size of 17.1 gallons or 77.7 liters.
  • The 2013 – 2019 Toyota Highlander has a standard tank size of 19.2 gallons or 87.2 liters.

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up Toyota Highlander?

Filling up is your Highlander’s fuel tank is cheapest in Texas, where you can pay up to  $50 to fill up the entire tank, and the most expensive is California, where your pocket may have a burn of about $80 to fill up the whole tank.

Furthermore, we have also discussed that what is the cost of fueling the tank of different models of Toyota Highlander:

  • The 2020 – Present Toyota Highlander will cost $50 – $79 to fill up.
  • The 2020 – Present Toyota Highlander Hybrid will cost $48 – $76 to fill up.
  • The 2013 – 2019 Toyota Highlander will cost $54 – $85 to fill up.

Closing Thoughts

We’ve come full circle on our deep dive into the fuel needs of your Toyota Highlander. Now you know that choosing between different types of gas isn’t a simple roadside decision. It’s a key choice that has real bearings on how your Highlander performs, how long it’ll keep running like a champ, and how far it’ll go on a tank.

It does help that most Toyota vehicles have similar fuel requirements whether you’re talking about the larger Highlander or the smaller Avalon and Camry it’s typically all about the 87 octane.

So, next time you’re at the pump, you’ll know exactly what’s best for your trusty Highlander. If you keep reading the rest of our Highlander content, you’ll know almost everything about your ride from its sometimes problematic transmission to its bolt pattern and rim size. Armed with this knowledge, you’re all set to enjoy an even better, smoother, and more economical driving experience. Stay tuned, stay informed, and most importantly, keep enjoying the ride.


Have More Questions? Join Our Facebook Group!

Do you have any more questions that weren´t answered in this blog post? Join our free Facebook group and ask your question there. We promise you you´ll get an answer from one of our team members. Join the group here!