Type of Gas Mazda 3 can Take

Types of Gas a Mazda 3 Can Take (EXPLAINED)

With its great gas mileage and an engine with one of the highest compression ratios, the Mazda 3 really is a testament to the Japanese brand’s knack for being revolutionary without buyers needing to break the bank, until you fill it with the wrong type of gas.

If you’ve ever driven or worked on a Mazda 3 like we do on a regular basis, you would know that you only really get to appreciate its “revolutionary” pros when it’s been fed with the right fuel.

So if you don’t want to end up making your Mazda 3 get worse mileage than a rotary engine, let’s have you familiarize all the types of gas you should and shouldn’t use for all generations of this popular Japanese compact car!

What type of gas does a Mazda 3 take?

Almost all Mazda 3 models made between 2004 and 2023/present take regular 87-octane unleaded gasoline, except for those equipped with the 2.3-liter turbo I4 engine, which takes premium 91-octane gas.

We cover four different generations of the Mazda 3 in this guide, and all but one of its engines are actually designed to run on your regular unleaded 87-octane gasoline.

Take note that “87” is in AKI, or “Anti-Knock Index”, which is the measurement for octane rating used in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

The majority of other countries or regions around the world use “RON” (Research Octane Number), which will be a bit higher. In this case, an 87 AKI requirement for the Mazda 3 would be equivalent to 91 RON everywhere else.

But then we come to the sole Mazda 3 engine that’s not quite satisfied with just regular “87 AKI” gas, the turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine used in the Mazdaspeed3 variant that requires 91-octane (95 RON) gas.

It’s very common for more performance-oriented engines to require higher levels of octane, especially when they’re turbocharged and have higher compression ratios.

You would want a higher-octane fuel in a high-compression engine because it’s more resistant to knocking compared to lower-grade fuels. That, and you also get the most optimum performance and fuel economy out of the engine this way.

But apart from fuel grades and octane ratings, there are other factors worth talking about when choosing the right fuel for your Mazda 3.

As we progress through this guide, you’ll learn things such as compatible fuel blend types, how much ethanol you can use, and even fuel additives or materials you shouldn’t be using in your Mazda 3.

Mazda 3 Fuel Requirements by Generation and Engine Option

All generations of the Mazda 3 require at least 87-octane gasoline, except for the 1st and 2nd-gen model’s turbocharged 2.3-liter I4 option, which requires premium 91-octane gasoline instead.

1st-Generation Mazda 3 (BK) (2004 to 2009)

1st-Generation Mazda 3 (BK) (2004 to 2009)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
2.0L MZR L Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.3L MZR L Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.3L MZR DISI Inline-4 (I4) Turbo(Mazdaspeed3)91-Octane Gasoline (Premium)

The 1st-generation Mazda 3 “BK”, also called the “Axela” in Japan, first rolled off the assembly line in 2003 for the 2004 model year, and with it came a selection of two body styles and several power plants.

For the North American market, however, only the hatchback body style along with two naturally aspirated engines were offered.

The smaller of the two engines was the 2-liter MZR L I4, with all of its 148 bhp achievable by filling up with at least 87-octane gasoline.

The next step up was the bigger 2.3-liter MZR L I4, which bumped up the power to 160 bhp. Despite this, however, it still only required 87-octane fuel as its 2-liter counterpart.

Eventually, when the sportier “Mazdaspeed3” model was unveiled in 2007, a special turbocharged 2.3-liter “MZR DISI” was used to power the Japanese hot hatch.

As the most powerful Mazda 3 version, the Mazdaspeed3 can only unleash all 263 of its horses if you feed it with at least 91-octane gasoline. Yes, it doesn’t like the regular stuff.

While it’s still possible to fill up the 2.3-liter turbo I4 with only regular 87-octane fuel, you will be running on reduced power and will experience engine knocking, which can damage your engine internals over time.

2nd-Generation Mazda 3 (BL) (2010 to 2013)

2nd-Generation Mazda 3 (BL) (2010 to 2013)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
2.0L MZR L Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.5L MZR L5-VE Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.3L MZR DISI Inline-4 (I4) Turbo(Mazdaspeed3)91-Octane Gasoline (Premium)

By the 2010 model year, the Mazda 3 entered its 2nd generation under the “BL” design code and with an engine lineup that’s fairly similar to the 1st-gen model.

North American models still kept the base 2-liter MZR L inline-4 engine from the previous generation. Not only were the power figures the same, but the minimum fuel requirement still remained at 87-octane gasoline.

However, the next engine on the list is where the main difference lies between this and the last generation, as the previous 2.3-liter I4 is now replaced by a bigger 2.5-liter “MZR L5-VE” I4.

The 2.5-liter I4 can only be found on the “s” trim and is rated at 169 hp (or 167 bhp) for both the US and Canadian markets.

Despite the bigger displacement and slightly higher power figures, the 2.5-liter I4 is still designed to run on regular 87-octane gasoline.

Let’s not forget, however, that the 2nd-gen Mazda 3 also paved the way for the introduction of the 2nd-gen Mazdaspeed3, which retains the same turbocharged 2.3-liter MZR DISI I4 as its 1st-gen counterpart.

Again, since we’re talking about the Mazdaspeed3 here, its sporty 2.3-liter turbo I4 performs the best with at least 91-octane premium gas, which is about 95 RON for those living across the pond.

3rd-Generation Mazda 3 (BM/BN) (2014 to 2018)

3rd-Generation Mazda 3 (BM/BN) (2014 to 2018)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
2.0L Skyactiv-G PE-VPS Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.0L Skyactiv-G PE-VPS Inline-4 (I4) (Skyactiv-Hybrid)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)

The 3rd-generation Mazda 3’s introduction for the 2014 model year completely revamped the platform in terms of the chassis design and the choice of engines underneath the hood.

Now built with Mazda’s “Skyactiv” technology, the 3rd-gen Mazda 3 “BM/BN” includes a then-new 2-liter Skyactiv-G 4-cylinder engine dubbed as the “PE-VPS”, which serves as the base engine for models released in North America.

A hybrid version of the same 2-liter PE-VPS I4 is also available for the 3rd-gen model. Both hybrid and non-hybrid versions of the engine require at least 87-octane gasoline.

Another inclusion in the lineup of 3rd-gen Mazda 3 engines is the 2.5-liter “PY-VPS” I4 that, of course, comes with Skyactiv tech as well.

The 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G PY-VPS I4 replaces the previous 2.5-liter MZR L5-VE I4, and just like the latter, the former is also designed to run on regular 87-octane fuel.

While there are lots of other engine options (including turbocharged ones) in select markets, there’s no 3rd-gen reincarnation of the sporty Mazdaspeed3 hot hatch, so there’s no real requirement for premium fuel this time around.

4th-Generation Mazda 3 (BP) (2019 to 2023/Present)

4th-Generation Mazda 3 (BP) (2019 to 2023/Present)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
2.0L Skyactiv-G PE-VPS Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS Inline-4 (I4)87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPTS Inline-4 (I4) Turbo87-Octane Gasoline (Regular)

The 4th and current generation of the Mazda 3, given the “BP” design code, shares a lot of similarities with the last-gen model in terms of styling and the engine options that power the Japanese compact car.

Both the 2-liter and 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G I4 engines were carried over from the 3rd-gen model, and they’ve also retained the same fuel requirement of 87-octane gasoline as most Mazda 3 engines.

A third engine, however, was added to the list for the 4th-gen model. This is the turbocharged 2.5-liter “PY-VPTS” I4, which is available on only the top trims of the latest Mazda 3 models.

Despite having a turbo, the 2.5-liter PY-VPTS I4 doesn’t really call for premium gas and is still designed to primarily run on regular 87-octane fuel (or 91 RON for the rest of the world).

Types of Gasoline/Fuel That Can Be Used in a Mazda 3

Types of fuel compatible with the Mazda 3 include TOP TIER detergent gasoline, reformulated gasoline, and up to 10% ethanol blends (E-10).

For all compatible fuel types, a minimum octane rating of 87 should be used, except for Mazda 3 models with a 2.3L turbo I4 engine, which needs 91 octane.

TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline

TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline

TOP TIER gas has been a staple in many automotive companies’ fuel recommendations, and that includes Mazda and its fleet of vehicles.

Thanks to TOP TIER fuel’s mixture of high-quality detergents, no other type of fuel in the US and Canada has a higher detergency rate than the brand.

But what’s the fuss about these detergents anyway? Well, such detergents are used as additives to safely clean your engine and fuel system from carbon buildup or any sort of debris.

Of course, having a cleaner engine and fuel system means that optimum performance is maintained every time you go out for a drive.

At this point in time, over 60 fuel brands across North America sell TOP TIER detergent gasoline, and spotting some is as easy as looking for its special green label. 

TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline

Reformulated Gasoline

If you’re unable to find some TOP TIER gasoline in your area, then you can also fill up the Mazda 3 with reformulated gasoline, which makes up over 30% of all gasoline sold in the US.

Reformulated gasoline, or “RFG”, is a more modern alternative to conventional gasoline that’s specifically formulated to burn cleaner and reduce toxic emissions.

Containing a mixture of less toxic ingredients, reformulated gasoline reduces the emission of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and other volatile organic compounds that are known to pollute the air.

Due to its known environmental and health benefits, RFG is mandated to be sold in areas where there is a higher concentration of air pollution in order to reduce the negative impact of emissions from fuel.

If you choose to fill up with RFG, be sure to ask your local retailers if they sell it, as it can be hard to distinguish from regular gasoline due to the lack of labels.

Up to 10% Ethanol Blends (E-10)

Up to 10% Ethanol Blends (E-10)

Aside from pure gasoline, the Mazda 3’s fuel system is also compatible with gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol, according to its owner’s manual.

But what is ethanol exactly and why can’t the percentage be higher? Well, ethanol is an alternative type of biofuel additive that’s made out of ethyl alcohol, which is usually derived from fermenting corn and other grains.

Because of ethanol’s tendency to attract or absorb water, engines and fuel systems can only take up to a certain amount of it before internal components start to get corroded or damaged.

So while ethanol gains plus points for its renewability and capability to reduce emissions, you should still follow the ethanol limit that is set for your specific vehicle model to avoid any damages.

Vehicles that are designed to take E-10 come with a regular black gas cap as opposed to Flex-Fuel vehicles (FFVs) that have yellow gas caps.

Black Gas Cap

Types of Gasoline/Fuel to Avoid for the Mazda 3

You should avoid filling up the Mazda 3 with E-85/Flex-Fuel or any fuel with more than 10% ethanol, leaded gasoline, and methanol.

Any fuel that has a lower octane rating than 87 should also not be used for the Mazda 3, as this could cause engine knock, reduced performance, and possible damage.



We’ve previously discussed that the Mazda 3 is compatible with fuel containing up to 10% ethanol content, which means anything above that is completely off-limits, especially E-85.

E-85, popularly known as “Flex-Fuel”, is a type of ethanol blend that can contain up to 85% pure ethanol and only 15% gasoline.

Only vehicles that are classified as FFVs (Flex-Fuel Vehicles) can take E-85, and this is because they’ve been equipped with specialized fuel systems.

Benefits from E-85 fuel include cooler engine temperatures, reduced emissions, and more power and torque for performance applications given that the engine is actually built to take it.

However, since the Mazda 3 was never released in FFV form, you will not get any of the benefits mentioned above. Rather, you will risk damaging or corroding your engine and fuel system components.

Leaded Gasoline

Leaded Gasoline

Leaded gasoline has already been banned for just about every nation around the globe several years ago, but the Mazda 3 owner’s manual still doesn’t fail to remind us to avoid it at all costs.

The owner’s manual states that running leaded gasoline will prematurely deteriorate both the catalytic converter and the oxygen sensors of your vehicle, which is already a known fact from several decades ago when it was first banned in the US.

Not only that, but leaded fuel has also caused lead poisoning concerns in the past, which is another nail in the coffin towards its eventual ban.



Methanol is part of the list of fuels that you should avoid for the Mazda 3, as it was not designed to take this specific type of blend.

Methanol is a kind of oxygenated blend that is similar to ethanol, though using any percentage of it in gasoline can also cause corrosion and damage to the fuel system components of the Mazda 3.

Hence, using methanol on the Mazda 3 would yield similar repercussions to when you use any fuel that has more than 10% ethanol (E-10), which is the limit for the Japanese compact car.

Mazda 3 Gas Mileage Per Generation

The Mazda 3 has a combined gas mileage of 21 to 27 mpg (1st gen), 23 to 32 mpg (2nd gen), 28 to 33 mpg (3rd gen), and 26 to 31 mpg (4th gen).

Gas mileage for the Mazda 3 also depends on factors such as the model year, drivetrain, and type of transmission.

1st-Generation Mazda 3 Gas Mileage (BK) (2004 to 2009)

Engine OptionMPG (City)MPG (Highway)MPG (Combined)
2.0L MZR L I4 (5-Speed Manual)24 mpg32 mpg27 mpg
2.0L MZR L I4 (4-Speed Automatic)22 to 23 mpg30 to 31 mpg25 to 26 mpg
2.3L MZR L I4 (5-Speed Manual)22 mpg29 to 30 mpg25 mpg
2.3L MZR L I4 (5-Speed Automatic)21 to 22 mpg26 to 29 mpg23 to 24 mpg
2.3L MZR DISI I4 Turbo(Mazdaspeed3)(6-Speed Manual)
18 mpg

26 mpg

21 mpg

2nd-Generation Mazda 3 Gas Mileage (BL) (2010 to 2013)

Engine OptionMPG (City)MPG (Highway)MPG (Combined)
2.0L MZR L I4 (5-Speed Manual)25 mpg32 to 33 mpg28 mpg
2.0L MZR L I4 (6-Speed Manual)26 mpg37 mpg30 mpg
2.0L MZR L I4 (5-Speed Automatic)24 mpg32 to 33 mpg27 mpg
2.0L MZR L I4 (6-Speed Automatic)28 mpg37 to 39 mpg31 to 32 mpg
2.5L MZR L5-VE I4 (6-Speed Manual)20 to 21 mpg28 to 29 mpg23 to 24 mpg
2.5L MZR L5-VE I4 (5-Speed Automatic)22 mpg28 to 29 mpg25 mpg

3rd-Generation Mazda 3 Gas Mileage (BM/BN) (2014 to 2018)

Engine OptionMPG (City)MPG (Highway)MPG (Combined)
2.0L Skyactiv-G PE-VPS I4 (6-Speed Manual)27 to 29 mpg37 to 39 mpg31 to 33 mpg
2.0L Skyactiv-G PE-VPS I4 (6-Speed Automatic)28 to 30 mpg37 to 40 mpg31 to 33 mpg
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS I4 (6-Speed Manual)25 mpg33 to 36 mpg28 to 29 mpg
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS I4 (6-Speed Automatic)26 to 29 mpg35 to 38 mpg30 to 32 mpg

4th-Generation Mazda 3 Gas Mileage (BP) (2019 to 2023/Present)

Engine OptionMPG (City)MPG (Highway)MPG (Combined)
2.0L Skyactiv-G PE-VPS I4 (2WD)(6-Speed Automatic)28 mpg36 mpg31 mpg
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS I4 (2WD)(6-Speed Manual)24 to 2633 to 3627 to 30 mpg
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS I4 (2WD) (6-Speed Automatic)26 to 28 mpg34 to 37 mpg29 to 31 mpg
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPS I4 (4WD) (6-Speed Automatic) 24 to 26 mpg31 to 35 mpg27 to 30 mpg
2.5L Skyactiv-G PY-VPTS I4 Turbo (4WD)(6-Speed Automatic)
23 mpg

31 to 32 mpg

26 to 27 mpg

What is the gas tank size/capacity of a Mazda 3?

The Mazda 3 has a gas tank size/capacity of 14.5 gallons (1st gen), 14.5 to 15.9 gallons (2nd gen), 13.2 gallons (3rd gen), and 12.7 to 13.2 gallons (4th gen) depending on the trim and drivetrain layout.

Mazda 3 Generation/Model Years
Engine/Trim Level
Gas Tank Size/Capacity (US Gallon/Liter)
1st Generation (BK) (2004 to 2009)2.0L I4 (i)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.0L I4 (i Touring)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.0L I4 (i Touring Value)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.0L I4 (i Sport)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.3L I4 (s)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.3L I4 (s Touring)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.3L I4 (s Sport)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.3L I4 (s Grand Touring)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.3L I4 (SP23 Special Edition)14.5 gal (55 l)
2nd Generation (BL) (2010 to 2013)2.0L I4 (i SV)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.0L I4 (i Sport)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.0L I4 (i Touring)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.0L I4 (i Grand Touring)14.5 gal (55 l)
2.5L I4 (s Sport)15.9 gal (60.2 l)
2.5L I4 (s Touring)15.9 gal (60.2 l)
2.5L I4 (s Grand Touring)15.9 gal (60.2 l)
3rd Generation (BM/BN) (2014 to 2018)2.0L I4 (i SV)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.0L I4 (i Sport)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.0L I4 (i Touring)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.0L I4 (i Grand Touring)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (s Touring)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (s Grand Touring)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.0L I4 (Sport) (2017 to 2018)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.0L I4 (Touring) (2017 to 2018)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Touring 2.5) (2017 to 2018)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Grand Touring) (2017 to 2018)
13.2 gal (50 l)
4th Generation (BP) (2019 to 2023/Present)2.0L I4 (Base)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Base)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Base AWD)12.7 gal (48.1 l)
2.5L I4 (Select)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (S)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Select AWD)12.7 gal (48.1 l)
2.5L I4 (Preferred)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Preferred AWD)12.7 gal (48.1 l)
2.5L I4 (Carbon Edition)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Premium)13.2 gal (50 l)
2.5L I4 (Premium AWD)12.7 gal (48.1 l)
2.5L I4 Turbo (AWD)12.7 gal (48.1 l)
2.5L I4 Turbo (Premium Plus AWD)12.7 gal (48.1 l)


When picking out the right gas type for your Mazda 3, you need to make sure that it’s unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of at least 87 (or 91 RON), which is the minimum required for most Mazda 3 engines.

However, if you have the sportier Mazdaspeed3 variant that comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter I4 engine, you need to bump it up to at least 91-octane (95 RON) “premium” gasoline for it to run optimally.

Now that you know the required octane rating, you can then select compatible fuel blends for the Mazda 3 such as TOP TIER detergent gasoline, gasoline with up to 10% ethanol (E-10), and reformulated gasoline.

You should avoid any type of gasoline or fuel that contains lead, methanol, and more than 10% ethanol like E- 85/Flex-Fuel, as these can negatively impact your engine’s performance and can even damage internal components.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)