Does the GMC Acadia Really Need Premium Gas?

We’ve all wondered at some point – does GMC Acadia need premium gas? It’s a question I see asked a lot in forums and Facebook groups. As an Acadia owner myself, I decided to dive deeper into this topic to find a clear answer. Let me share what I learned!

What Kind of Gas Does the Acadia Normally Take?

To start, we need to establish does GMC Acadia need premium gas or will regular do just fine. Most owners manuals will recommend using regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. This is certainly the case for my 2008 Acadia. However, some people claim they’ve seen better performance from using higher octane premium fuel.

From researching online forums and articles, it seems the general consensus is that GMC Acadia is designed to run optimally on regular 87 octane gasoline. Higher octane fuel like 89, 91 or 93 is not required and will not provide any benefits in terms of fuel efficiency or engine performance. The Acadia’s compression ratio is not high enough to require premium.

Does the GMC Acadia Really Need Premium Gas

Will Premium Gas Really Get You Better Mileage?

One of the big arguments I often see from premium gas advocates is that it can potentially improve your gas mileage. The reasoning is that higher octane fuel burns more cleanly and completely in the engine. However, most experts agree there is no factual evidence that using premium over regular yields better fuel economy.

In forums like, many owners who have tested both premium and regular report no significant difference in their real-world mileage. The engine control module is programmed based on regular gas, so premium just costs more without providing a tangible benefit. Some people claim marginal improvements, but not enough to justify the extra cost long-term.

Does It Increase Horsepower or Performance?

Another claim is that premium fuel gives more horsepower or quicker acceleration. But again, most experts say this isn’t true for the GMC Acadia. Premium is designed for high-compression performance engines, not the typical SUV engine in the Acadia.

Some owners do report a very slight improvement in throttle response when using premium. But realistically, the difference is negligible and you’d never notice it during average driving. It certainly doesn’t unlock some hidden performance potential in the Acadia. The engine is tuned to run optimally on regular fuel.

Does the GMC Acadia Really Need Premium Gas

What About Preventing Deposits?

Premium advocates also argue it helps prevent carbon deposits from building up in the engine. This could theoretically improve performance and fuel economy over very long-term ownership.

While it’s true premium blends may contain extra detergents, the GMC Acadia engine is not so high-compression that carbon buildup becomes a major issue even when using regular gas for the vehicle’s normal lifespan. Following the manufacturer maintenance schedule is much more important for preventing deposits.

Is It Worth It For Trailering or Towing?

Some owners wonder if premium is necessary when towing or carrying heavy loads, since the engine is under more stress. The owner’s manual does not recommend or require using a higher octane fuel for occasional trailering or towing in the Acadia, which has a max towing capacity of 5000 lbs.

Sticking with regular unleaded is still fine, as the ECM (engine control module) is calibrated for operation on regular 87 octane. Premium would provide no real benefit to the engine’s ability to tow or haul loads within the vehicle’s rated capacity.

Does the GMC Acadia Really Need Premium Gas

Should You Try It For Yourself?

If you’re really curious, some owners have tried testing their own mileage with premium vs regular gasoline. But in the end, most conclude it’s simply not worth the significant price difference to use premium in the GMC Acadia on a regular basis. The engine is designed to run optimally on regular unleaded fuel.

Final Thought – Regular Gas is Fine!

After reviewing all the available information, research studies, and owner experiences, I feel confident that regular 87 octane unleaded gasoline is perfectly suitable to meet the GMC Acadia’s fuel requirements. While some individual results may vary, premium fuel does not provide enough quantifiable benefits in terms of performance, fuel economy or engine longevity to justify routinely choosing it over regular fuel for this vehicle. For Acadia owners, regular unleaded is definitely all you need!


Will using premium gas void my warranty?

No, using a higher grade gasoline will not void your warranty or affect its coverage. Automakers design vehicles to safely operate on regular fuel. Premium is not required by GMC.

How much more does premium gas usually cost?

Premium is typically $0.20-0.50 more per gallon compared to regular. Over time, this price difference can add up significantly if you don’t need premium. It’s an unnecessary added expense for most Acadia owners.

Should I try a tank of premium just to see?

A single tank likely won’t hurt, but you probably won’t notice any difference either. Savings are realized over many fill-ups. Most owners report no noticeable changes in performance or mileage between fuels. It’s generally not worth the experimentation.

What about top tier gas – is that better?

Top tier gas meets certain detergent specifications but also costs more. The Acadia engine is not so high-performance that top tier is required. Regular gas with proper maintenance is sufficient. Extra additives provide no real benefits.

I tow occasionally – does premium help then?

No, even occasional towing does not require premium fuel in the Acadia. The engine control module is calibrated based on regular unleaded. Premium provides no advantage for towing within the vehicle’s rated capacity. Regular fuel delivers reliable operation.

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