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Types Of Gas A Volvo XC90 Takes (Explained)

Types Of Gas A Volvo XC90 Takes (Explained)

On this blog, we do a lot of research regarding specific questions about different cars. Today we’ll look at the Volvo XC90 and answer what kind of gas this car requires. We’ve gone through the owners’ manuals of the 2006 – present-day XC90 to find the answer. Here’s a quick answer:

Volvo XC90 manufactured from 2015 onwards require premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 for optimum performance. Volvo XC90 manufactured between 2006 – 2014 require premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 for optimum performance, although 87 octane can be used temporarily.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Below we’ll dive into what kind of gas this car takes. We’ll talk about reformulated gasoline, E-85, and gasoline with additives. Should or shouldn’t you use this for the Volvo XC90? We’ll also talk about the fuel mileage of each generation as well as possible knocking noises and so much more. Read on!

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Infographic about the fuel types for a Volvo XC90

Details About Octane Ratings

As stated previously, Volvo XC90 manufactured from 2015 onwards (the second generation) use premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91. On the other hand, the first generation also has 91 advised, but can use 87 octane temporarily.

However, there are cases in which 91 premium may not be available, and you can either go with 87 – 89 octane or 93 – 95 octane.

In all cases, we recommend you opt for more premium gasoline when the recommended gasoline is unavailable. The reason for this is that using lower octane gasoline is always worse for the fuel system. On the other hand, higher octane gasoline won’t have a negative consequence on the fuel system.

However, it’s not recommended to opt for 93 – 95 octane all the time because these types of gasoline are more expensive and won’t provide you with any benefit over the recommended gasoline.

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

Besides knowing the proper octane levels, there are several other things that you should be aware of concerning the gasoline you use in your XC90. These mainly include different kinds of additives used in the fuel.

Reformulated Gasoline

First, there’s the use of reformulated gasoline compared to non-reformulated gasoline. Reformulated gasoline is gasoline that’s become popular over the past decade because it burns cleaner than its counterpart. For this reason, it has even become mandatory in some areas of the United States.

Therefore, it’s good to know that Volvo recommends reformulated gasoline. Its use won’t negatively affect the engine or decrease its performance. Overall, it’s just a better type of gasoline that should be used whenever available.

Gasoline/Oxygenated Blends Or E-85

Furthermore, we have to talk about using oxygenated blends of gasoline. These types of gasoline increase the oxygen or octane levels in the fuel while also decreasing the amount of emissions the car is disposing of. However, strict rules should be followed when using this kind of fuel.

First of all, it’s essential to know that Volvo XC90 can use gasoline with a maximum of 10% ethanol. This goes for all generations, which means that the widely popular 15% ethanol (also called E15) cannot be used. The same goes for E30 (30%) and E85 (50 – 85%).

Furthermore, methanol and MMT cannot be used at all, and using them will almost certainly damage the engine and the fuel system and is not covered under any warranty.

Finally, it’s good to know that MTBE can be used up to specific percentages. For 2006 – 2018 models, a maximum of 15% MTBE can be used in the fuel, whereas from 2019 onwards, this percentage was increased to 22%.

Gasoline With Added Materials

Finally, we have to talk about additives in these types of gasoline. As a general rule of thumb, just using any additive marketed to you is a bad idea. This is because many aftermarket additives contain elements that are harmful to the fuel system and engine.

These elements are most likely going to be some form of silicon or micro metals. Even though many additives are supposed to clean your engine, many will harm your engine. Also, octane boosters are advised against since it’s better to immediately tank the proper octane levels.

To prevent you from figuring out what kind of additives are good or bad, it’s best to buy gasoline from certified TOP TIER gasoline retailers. Volvo, like many other carmakers, actually endorses buying this gasoline. This is because it already has all the proper additives mixed into it, and it has been proven to clean the engine and improve the lifespan of the engine. Visit to find a retailer near you.

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

Hearing a knocking noise in a car is a normal occurrence. However, it’s essential to listen carefully to the loudness of the knocking noise. A slight knocking noise is normal, especially when the car achieves peak performance (such as when towing or driving up a hill).

However, a loud knocking noise is a problem, especially if you refilled the car. In this case, you’re likely using gasoline with a lower than recommended octane level, and the car is not handling this well.

In this instance, the best thing to do is stop the car and call your dealer or garage. It’s very likely the car needs to be drained from its fuel, and the fuel filter will need to be changed. Ignoring the knocking noise will result in severe mechanical damage.

Also read: 13 Common Problems Of A Volvo XC90

Does the Volvo XC90 Have Good Gas Mileage?

In the United States, the two generations of the XC90 have been sold in a variety of engine configurations. Below, we’ve outlined the fuel economy of each generation and the engine types in which they were available.

We found that, in general, the gasoline versions of the XC90 aren’t that fuel-efficient. However, the (mainly) electric versions have changed that image significantly in the past few years.

2006 – 2014


2015 – Present-day


The gas mileage is calculated a little differently for the electric versions, as seen in the table below. Here, we’ve clarified the MPG for the combined use of electric + gas and the mileage for the gas-only modes.

DrivetrainElec + GasGas only
2.0 PHEV5527
2.0 PHEV Ext. Range6626

What’s The Gas Tank Size Of A Volvo XC90?

Volvo XC90 manufactured between 2006 – 2014 all have a gas tank size of 21.1 gallons or 80 liters.

Volvo XC90 with a gasoline engine manufactured between 2015 – present-day have a gas tank size of 18.8 gallons or 71 liters. Volvo XC90 with a hybrid drivetrain manufactured between 2015 – 2018 have a gas tank size of 13.2 gallons or 50 liters. From 2019 onwards XC90 with a hybrid drivetrain have a gas tank size of 18.5 gallons or 70 liters.


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