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Types Of Gas A Volkswagen Atlas Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Volkswagen Atlas Takes (Explained)

The mid-size crossover SUV segment has some capable offerings for car buyers. One such offering is the American-made Volkswagen Atlas which was introduced in 2016. It was offered for sale in the US in 2018. It provided an excellent choice with two engines available with 2.0-liter and 3.6-liter displacements.

All Volkswagen Atlas take regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. However, 91 octane is recommended for the 2.0L turbo engine to achieve optimum performance.

The key benefit is higher engine output. The VW website also mentions that the claimed output can be achieved using premium fuels. Additionally, the engine life and health are also improved by using premium-grade fuels. Let us now take a look at the engines offered by VW with respect to their fuel economy traits.

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Infographic about the fuel types for a Volkswagen Atlas.

Fuel Requirements Based On Engine Type

2018 – Present

Volkswagen Atlas was introduced in 2016 at the LA Auto Show. Seeing some serious interest in the vehicle, Volkswagen offered it for sale in 2018, and people bought these in decent numbers. The engines offered for sale were a base displacement of 2.0-liter and a higher output V8 at 3.6-liter. Both were gasoline engines, and diesel versions were not sold in the USA.

The 2.0-liter Turbo gasoline engine produces 235 horsepower only if you use premium-grade octane fuels. It emphasizes the need for using fuels with octane grades higher than regular gasoline. Although the Volkswagen Atlas will operate on fuels with octane grades as low as 87, a higher octane is certainly recommended.

The 3.6-liter V8 engine produces 276 horsepower. This variant can also take fuels with octane grade ratings as low as 87. The 87 octane grade fuels are a minimum base to operate the Volkswagen Atlas. A good option will be to opt for premium fuels with a minimum octane rating of 91 or above.

EngineFuel Requirement 
2.0-liter Turbo Gasoline87-grade octane minimum
3.6-liter V8 Gasoline87-grade octane minimum

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

In today’s market, various types of gasoline are available for sale. Many car owners divert from the norm and opt for alternates to regular gasoline available in the market. Let’s see if the Volkswagen Atlas can take these alternate fuel types.

Reformulated Gasoline

The shrewd environmental thinkers have urged engineers to develop more friendly fuel types than the regular gasoline for the environment. One such type of gasoline is the Reformulated Gasoline. RFG is made to burn greener and cleaner compared to regular gasoline.

Volkswagen doesn’t state anything concerning its stance on RFG; neither do they oppose nor suggest not using reformulated gasoline.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

Many performance engines are filled with ethanol-blended fuels to extract the last possible ounce of horsepower from the engine. E-85 is a high concentration blend of ethanol with gasoline. The “85” in E-85 represents 85% ethanol blended with only 15% of regular gasoline.

Not every car can take E-85. The vehicle needs to be E-85 compatible to use E-85 fuels. Car manufacturers put different indications to inform the car owners of the vehicle’s E-85 compatibility. Sometimes a simple “Flexfuel” badge is posted on the car. And at times, the fuel caps are marked with “E-85” to denote E-85’s suitability for the vehicle.

While the Volkswagen Atlas isn’t a performance vehicle, ethanol-blended fuels with lower ethanol concentrations may be used. Volkswagen is fine with the use of ethanol-blended fuels as long as the below points are accounted for:

  • The fuel to be used for the blend should be at least 87-grade octane fuel
  • The blend of ethanol should not be more than 15%

Two critical factors to consider while using ethanol-blended fuels are the precaution and symptoms.


  • Rough idling and hard starting
  • Residue formation and deposit build-up inside the engine


  • When refueling, fill at least 11 liters
  • The vehicle should be running for at least 7 miles after refueling

It is always good to stick with the manufacturer’s recommended blend of 15% ethanol with 85% regular gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 87.

Gasoline With Added Materials

Nowadays, gasoline is mixed with certain materials of different types that perform various tasks. Some of these additives are detergents, and others might be cleaning agents. Depending on their level of detergency, it is a good idea to stick to the manufacturer’s suggestions.

For the Volkswagen Atlas, the manufacturer suggests that only TOP TIER detergent gasoline be used in the Volkswagen Atlas.

Gasoline With MMT

MMT or Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl is added to gasoline as an octane enhancer. It was initially sold as just a supplement, but later on, it was sold as an octane enhancer. A similar type is MTBE which is also an octane enhancer.

Volkswagen suggests that car owners may use gasoline with MTBE such that the gasoline used is a minimum octane grade of 87, and MTBE proportion should not be more than 15% of the total.

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

Usually, a spark knock or engine knocking sound is audible when fuels with lower octane grades are used. As per VW, fuel with a minimum octane rating of 87 should be used, but this also can cause knocking sounds from the engine.

A quick fix is to use fuels with higher octane grades. Premium-grade fuels are known to eliminate such knocking sounds. If using a Premium grade octane doesn’t fix the issue, it’s time to take your vehicle for a thorough checkup.

Also read: Volkswagen Atlas: Common Problems You Should Know!

Does The Volkswagen Atlas Have Good Gas Mileage?

2018 – present

The Volkswagen Atlas is offered with a 2.0-liter and 3.6-liter engine. Both of these engines are gasoline engines. The 2.0-liter Turbo engine is more fuel-efficient than the 3.6-liter engine. It is understandable, but the difference is negligible between the two variants.

The 2.0-liter engine achieves a best of 26 MPG and a worst of 18 MPG. The 3.6-liter engine, which is considerably more powerful, does 25 MPG at its best and 16 MPG at its worst. The driver’s throttle behavior is a crucial determinant of the vehicle’s fuel economy.

Keeping a lighter foot when driving can undoubtedly increase the fuel economy. Adversely, a heavier foot would do otherwise. We want to emphasize that the driver can worsen or improve the fuel economy by adjusting his driving habits.

EngineLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
2.0-liter Turbo Gasoline1826
3.6-liter V8 Gasoline1625

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of The Volkswagen Atlas?

It is essential to deal with as many driving worries as possible to enjoy a pleasant drive. One such worry is the need to refuel. A larger gas tank can assist in this to a large extent. As standard, the fuel tank capacity for Volkswagen Atlas is 18.6 gallons for both the 2.0-liter and 3.6-liter engines.

It means that a filled tank can easily manage somewhere in the range of 300 miles without refueling. This 300-mile is our very own estimate of how far a vehicle should travel on one full tank. Some cars have gas tanks larger than 18.6 of the VW Atlas, and then some are smaller in capacity.

The Volkswagen Atlas is equipped with an 18.6-gallon tank, and if we consider the 2.0-liter variant, it can go as high as 483.6 miles if one can maintain the 26 MPG average. The 3.6-liter can do 465 miles on a full tank, once again, if the maximum fuel economy is maintained.

EngineGas Tank
Volkswagen Atlas Current Gen18.6 gallons

How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up A Volkswagen Atlas?

Given the soaring gas prices in the world, it is more than justified to know what is going to be the cost of refueling the gas tank of the Volkswagen Atlas. The 18.6-gallon tank can be filled for at least $67.52, and at most, it will cost $106.38.

GenerationFuel tank size (Gallons)Cost (Cheapest)Cost (Most Expensive)
2nd Generation 18.6 Gal$ 67.52$ 106.38


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