Types of Gas a Chevy Tahoe Can Take All Generations

Types of Gas a Chevy Tahoe Can Take: All Generations

We’ve made tons of different articles about SUVs such as the Chevy Tahoe, and now we’re going to specifically tackle the types of gas or fuel that it can take.

This guide will prove very useful to those that are in the market for either newer or older Chevy Tahoe models, as we’re going to be including every single generation’s gas type right here.

Thus, if you want to avoid putting in the wrong type of gas in the Chevy Tahoe and potentially damaging something, make sure to read until the end!

Also, we’ve got another useful article on the Chevy Tahoe’s bolt pattern that we highly recommend checking out as well!

What kind of gas does a Chevy Tahoe take?

Almost all gasoline-powered Chevy Tahoe models can take regular 87-octane gasoline, except for those equipped with 6.2-liter V8 engines, which require premium 93-octane gasoline instead.

Diesel Chevy Tahoe models require ultra-low sulfur diesel with no more than 15 ppm in sulfur content.

The majority of Chevy Tahoe models ever made are gasoline-powered ones that can take regular 87-octane unleaded gasoline.

However, those specifically equipped with the 6.2-liter V8 engine require premium 93-octane gasoline. This engine can be found in the 3rd to 5th-generation (2007 to 2023/Present) Chevy Tahoe models.

It’s also important to note that if you were to use any of the other gasoline-powered models that only use 87-octane gasoline for heavy-duty tasks, such as towing, it’s highly recommended to switch to either premium 91-octane or 93-octane fuel instead.

What kind of gas does a Chevy Tahoe take

As for the Chevy Tahoe models that are powered by diesel engines, you should specifically fill them up with ultra-low sulfur diesel (#2 diesel) with a sulfur content of 15 ppm or less.

What kind of gas does a Chevy Tahoe take

We’ll be further discussing the fuel requirements of the different generations of the Chevy Tahoe according to the engine option in more detail below.

Chevy Tahoe Fuel Requirements Based on Generation and Engine Option

Almost all gasoline engine options of the Chevy Tahoe can use 87-octane gasoline, except for the 6.2-liter V8 found in the 3rd to 5th generation that requires 93-octane instead.

Diesel engine options from the 1st and 5th-generation Chevy Tahoe require ultra-low sulfur diesel with no more than 15 ppm.

1st-Generation Chevy Tahoe (1995 to 1999)

1st-Generation Chevy Tahoe (1995 to 1999)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
5.7L L05/L31 V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
4.2L MWM Sprint Inline-6 (I6) Turbo Diesel (South America)Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (Max 15 ppm)
6.5L Detroit Diesel L56 V8 TurboUltra-Low Sulfur Diesel (Max 15 ppm)

The 1st-generation Chevy Tahoe was paired with three different engine options, but only the 4.2-liter turbo diesel was offered outside of the US, specifically, in select countries in South America.

The only gasoline-powered option was the 5.7-liter V8, which is capable of taking regular 87-octane gasoline.

The two diesel options, namely the 6.5-liter “Detroit Diesel” V8 and the South America-released 4.2-liter MWM turbo diesel, both require ultra-low sulfur diesel with 15 ppm of sulfur content or less.

2nd-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2000 to 2006)

2nd-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2000 to 2006)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
4.8L Vortec 4800 V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
5.3L Vortec 5300 V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular) (E-85/Flex-Fuel Capable for 2002 Onwards)

The 2nd-generation only had two engine options in the form of the Vortec 4800 V8 and the Vortec 5300 V8. Both of these engines are gasoline-powered and can take regular 87-octane gasoline.

However, the Vortec 5300 V8 was actually made to be flex-fuel capable for the 2002 model year and onwards, which means that it’s compatible with gasoline blended with up to 85% of ethanol, otherwise known as “E-85”.

Unlike the 1st-generation model, the 2nd generation neither came with the 6.5-liter Detroit Diesel engine nor any other diesel options. Thus, do not use any sort of diesel fuel for its gasoline engines.

3rd-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2007 to 2014)

3rd-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2007 to 2014)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
4.8L Vortec LY2 V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
5.3L Vortec LY5 V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular)
5.3L Vortec LMG V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular) (E-85/Flex-Fuel Capable)
6.0L Vortec 6000 LFA/LZ1 V8 Hybrid87-Octane Gasoline or Higher
6.2L Vortec 6200 L92 V8 93-Octane Gasoline (Premium)
6.2L Vortec 6200 L9H V893-Octane Gasoline (Premium) (E-85/Flex-Fuel Capable)
6.2L Vortec 6200 L94 V893-Octane Gasoline (Premium) (E-85/Flex-Fuel Capable)

The 3rd-generation Chevy Tahoe went through several changes in its engine lineup during its production run, which included options that also have E-85 or Flex-Fuel capability.

Models with the 4.8-liter Vortec V8, 5.3-liter “LY5” V8, and 5.3-liter “LMG” V8 are all capable of running on regular 87-octane gasoline. In addition, the “LMG” is also capable of running on E-85/Flex-Fuel.

The 3rd-generation model also introduced the Chevy Tahoe’s first hybrid engine option, the 6-liter Vortec 6000 V8 Hybrid, which also runs on 87-octane gasoline.

The 6.2-liter Vortec 6200 V8, which underwent three different iterations, is the only engine option that requires premium 93-octane gasoline to run properly.

However, it’s also worth mentioning that both the “L9H” and the “L94” versions of the Vortec 6200 V8 can also run on E-85/Flex-Fuel.

No diesel engine options were released for the 3rd-generation Chevy Tahoe, so using any sort of diesel fuel is out of the question.

4th-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2015 to 2020)

4th-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2015 to 2020)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
5.3L Ecotec3 FlexFuel V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular) (E-85/Flex-Fuel Capable)
6.2L Ecotec3 FlexFuel V893-Octane Gasoline (Premium) (E-85/Flex-Fuel Capable)

The 4th-generation Chevy Tahoe replaced the previous Vortec-series engines of the older generations with two new “Ecotec3” gasoline engines, both of which are actually E-85/Flex-Fuel capable.

The smaller of the two Ecotec3 engines was the 5.3-liter V8, which can take regular 87-octane gasoline. This is contrary to the bigger-displacement 6.2-liter Ecotec3 V8, which requires premium 93-octane gasoline.

The 4th-generation Chevy Tahoe does not come with any diesel engine options, so the use of diesel fuel should be avoided at all costs.

5th-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2021 to Present)

5th-Generation Chevy Tahoe (2021 to Present)
Engine OptionMinimum Fuel Requirement
5.3L Ecotec3 L84 V887-Octane Gasoline (Regular) 
6.2L Ecotec3 L87 V893-Octane Gasoline (Premium) 
3.0L Duramax Inline-6 (I6) Turbo Diesel1D Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (Max 15 ppm) (For Colder Climates)

2D Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (Max 15 ppm) (For Hotter Climates)

The 5th and current generation of the Chevy Tahoe has a really similar engine lineup to the previous 4th-generation model.

The main differences are that the gasoline engines used in the 5th generation do not have the E-85/Flex-Fuel capability that the previous one had, and a new “Duramax” diesel engine option is now available.

The Duramax diesel engine in question is a turbocharged 3-liter Inline-6 (I6) engine, the first I6 engine used in the Chevy Tahoe ever since the South American-released 4.2-liter I6 engine of the 1st-generation model.

As with the earlier diesel engines, the 3-liter Duramax I6 diesel engine also requires ultra-low sulfur diesel. However, it’s specifically recommended to use “1D” diesel in colder climates and “2D” diesel in hotter climates.

Types of Gasoline/Fuel That Can Be Used in a Chevy Tahoe

The Chevy Tahoe can use various types of fuel like reformulated gasoline, TOP TIER gasoline/diesel, E-85/Flex-Fuel (for Flex-Fuel-capable vehicles only), and ultra-low sulfur diesel or biodiesel (B20) for diesel variants.

Reformulated Gasoline (Chevrolet’s Recommendation)

Reformulated gasoline is a more modern type of fuel that has become increasingly popular over the past several years.

It’s well-known for burning cleaner compared to conventional gasoline, and this is thanks to its carefully-formulated mixture that contains less toxic ingredients.

Because of the absence of such ingredients that are known to contribute to the formation of ozone and other air toxins, reformulated gasoline is recommended in areas with a higher concentration of air pollution and smog.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, reformulated gasoline is currently being used in 16 different states, which accounts for about 25% of all gasoline sold in the country.

This makes reformulated gasoline quite the popular choice of fuel, and this is why even automakers such as Chevrolet also recommend using it for their vehicles if you happen to find a gas pump that has it.

Top Tier Gasoline/Diesel (Chevrolet’s Recommendation)

Another highly-recommended type of fuel for the Chevy Tahoe is non-other than TOP TIER gasoline or diesel, depending on which engine option you have.

Top Tier GasolineDiesel (Chevrolet’s Recommendation)

TOP TIER fuel is compatible with all sorts of vehicles on the road, and its main selling point is its capability to provide safe and effective engine cleaning, which is thanks to its high-quality detergent additives.

The use of such detergent additives provides your vehicle’s engine with much-needed protection against the build-up of all sorts of debris, deposits, or gunk.

This results in an engine that operates smoother, which is essential in maintaining optimal performance, especially during heavy tasks.

So whether you have the gasoline variant or the diesel variant of the Chevy Tahoe, you can fill up with the appropriate TOP TIER fuel by spotting the labels shown below.

Top Tier GasolineDiesel (Chevrolet’s Recommendation)

Though the main caveat for diesel variant owners, in particular, is that TOP TIER diesel fuel is quite trickier to find compared to its gasoline counterpart.

There are over 60 gasoline brands that currently sell TOP TIER gasoline across the US and Canada, versus only a few licensed retail brands that sell TOP TIER diesel in North America.

E-85/Flex-Fuel (For Flex-Fuel Variants Only)

Several engine options of the Chevy Tahoe are capable of using E-85 or “Flex-Fuel”, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. 

As a quick reference to what was discussed earlier, we’ve once again listed these specific Flex-Fuel engines below.

Chevy Tahoe Generation (E-85/Flex-Fuel)Engine Option
2nd Generation (2002 Onwards)5.3L Vortec 5300 V8
3rd Generation (2007 to 2014)5.3L Vortec LMG V8
6.2L Vortec L9H V8
6.2L Vortec L94 V8
4th Generation (2015 to 2020)5.3L Ecotec3 V8
6.2L Ecotec3 V8

E-85 or Flex-Fuel is quite popular for both its high resistance to engine knock and added performance, but the main downside is that you will have a considerable drop in gas mileage (mpg).

This is because ethanol blends, especially E-85, have lower energy content per unit and burn faster than just gasoline by itself.

One good way to find out if a vehicle can take E-85/Flex-Fuel is by checking if it has a yellow fuel cap with “E-85” printed on it. 

If it doesn’t have this or it has a black fuel cap instead, then it’s usually limited to only E-10 or E-15 (gasoline with 10 to 15% ethanol content).

E-85Flex-Fuel (For Flex-Fuel Variants Only)

Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel/#2 Diesel (Maximum of 15 ppm) (For Diesel Variants)

For diesel variants of the Chevy Tahoe, it’s highly recommended to use ultra-low sulfur diesel, also known as “#2 Diesel”, that contains no more than 15 ppm in terms of sulfur content for them.

Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel#2 Diesel (Maximum of 15 ppm) (For Diesel Variants)

The 3-liter Duramax diesel variant of the 5th and current-generation Chevy Tahoe specifically requires either 1D or 2D ultra-low sulfur diesel during hotter or colder climates, respectively.

Other than that, no other non-diesel fuel (e.g. gasoline/petrol) should be used in the diesel variants of the Chevy Tahoe.

Accidentally putting gasoline (petrol) in a diesel engine can damage the internals through contamination, as a diesel engine is not designed to ignite gasoline, which has no lubrication in its mixture.

Without lubrication, various engine and fuel system components will rub against each other if you attempt to drive the vehicle.

If there’s still enough gasoline mixed in with the diesel fuel, ignition or combustion may still occur at a level that’s too much for the engine to handle.

Up to 20% Biodiesel Blends (For Diesel Variants)

Biodiesel is an alternative form of diesel fuel that’s considered more natural and environmentally friendly, and Chevrolet has given the green light to use it for the Chevy Tahoe.

The manufacturer specifically recommends using biodiesel for the turbocharged 3-liter Duramax diesel engine of the 5th-generation model, though it should be limited to up to 20% of biodiesel content only (B20).

Up to 20% Biodiesel Blends (For Diesel Variants)

Types of Gasoline/Fuel to Avoid for the Chevy Tahoe

Avoid filling up the Chevy Tahoe with gasoline that contains MMT, gasoline lower than 87-octane, and methanol blends.

Diesel fuel should not be used in any gasoline-powered Chevy Tahoe and vice versa.

Gasoline with MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl)

MMT is a type of metal-based additive that is primarily used to boost the octane rating of either leaded or unleaded gasoline that’s sold in the US and Canada.

Gasoline with MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl)

But while it does reduce the chances of engine knock, especially in performance applications, it’s known to make emissions more toxic when added to gasoline.

Aside from causing environmental concerns, MMT is also notorious for damaging the vehicle’s spark plugs and other various parts of the emissions system.

Due to such downsides, the majority of today’s gasoline brands have elected to not include MMT in all the fuels that they sell.

With that said, Chevrolet and other major vehicle manufacturers strongly advise against using gasoline with MMT in any of their vehicle models.

Gasoline Lower Than 87-Octane

All generations of the Chevy Tahoe require gasoline that does not go any lower than an octane rating of 87, and this is more so true for those sporting the 6.2-liter V8 engine that requires 93-octane fuel.

Gasoline Lower Than 87-Octane

Going any lower than the octane rating that’s recommended for your engine can cause engine knock and potential damage to the internals.

This is because the higher the octane rating of a particular type of fuel is, the more resistant it is to knocking during the engine’s combustion process.

Thus, putting in gasoline with too low of an octane rating may cause it to ignite too early (premature ignition), which causes the audible “knocking” or “pinging” sound associated with engine knock.

Methanol Blends

There are several different kinds of oxygenated fuel blends out there, and one of them that should not be used for the Chevy Tahoe is methanol.

Methanol Blends

Compared to other oxygenated blends like ethanol, methanol is more toxic, acidic, and more likely to corrode the internals of an engine that’s not designed to take it.

Nowadays, methanol is not really used as a widespread fuel for transportation anymore, but it does have some merit as a form of racing fuel for high-performance applications.

But unless you plan on turning your Chevy Tahoe into a race car, you should avoid filling it up with any sort of methanol-based fuel.

What will happen if I use the wrong gas type?

Using the wrong gas type, such as using gas with too low of an octane rating for your vehicle, can reduce engine performance, cause engine knock, and even damage the internals.

Putting diesel in a gasoline engine or vice versa can damage the internals and make the vehicle unable to run properly.

Chevy Tahoe Gas Mileage Per Generation

Gasoline-powered Chevy Tahoe models have a combined gas mileage of 12 to 23 mpg depending on the generation, while those that have E-85/Flex-Fuel capability get 10 to 16 mpg using E-85.

Diesel Chevy Tahoe models get a combined gas mileage between 14 and 28 mpg, depending on the generation.

To give you a better idea of the possible gas mileage that each Chevy Tahoe generation can achieve, we have listed both the lowest and the highest combined MPG of each of their engine options below.

1st-Generation Chevy Tahoe Gas Mileage (1995 to 1999)

Engine OptionLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
5.7L L05/L31 V81215
6.5L Detroit Diesel L56 V8 Turbo1415

2nd-Generation Chevy Tahoe Gas Mileage (2000 to 2006)

Engine OptionLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.8L Vortec 4800 V81418
5.3L Vortec 5300 V81317
5.3L Vortec 5300 V8 (2002 Onwards E-85/Flex-Fuel Models)1013

3rd-Generation Chevy Tahoe Gas Mileage (2007 to 2014)

Engine OptionLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
4.8L Vortec LY2 V81419
5.3L Vortec LY5 V81521
5.3L Vortec LMG V8 (E-85/Flex-Fuel)1116
6.0L Vortec 6000 LFA/LZ1 V8 Hybrid2023
6.2L Vortec 6200 L92 V8 1219
6.2L Vortec 6200 L9H/L94 V8 (E-85/Flex-Fuel)1014

4th-Generation Chevy Tahoe Gas Mileage (2015 to 2020)

Engine OptionLowest Combined MPGHighest Combined MPG
5.3L Ecotec3 V8 (Regular Gasoline)1622
5.3L Ecotec3 V8 (E-85/Flex-Fuel)1116
6.2L Ecotec3 V81422

5th-Generation Chevy Tahoe Gas Mileage (2021 to Present)

Engine OptionMPG (City)MPG (Highway)
5.3L Ecotec3 L84 V81520
6.2L Ecotec3 L87 V8 (2WD)1420
6.2L Ecotec3 L87 V8 (4WD)1419
3.0L Duramax Inline-6 (I6) Turbo Diesel (2WD)2128
3.0L Duramax Inline-6 (I6) Turbo Diesel (2WD)2026

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)