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Do Lexus Cars Require Premium Gas?

With different grades of gasoline to choose from at the pump, it might be a little confusing when it comes to selecting the correct one for your vehicle. If you are considering a Lexus for your next car and are wondering if you should use premium fuel, we can help you. We researched this popular make of car to provide you with a definitive answer.

Whether or not your Lexus will require premium gasoline will depend upon the model of Lexus and the trim level. The following Lexus models require premium gasoline:

  • GS 350
  • GS F
  • GX 460
  • IS 300
  • IS 350
  • LC 500
  • LC 500h
  • LX 570
  • NX 300
  • RC 350
  • RC F
  • RX 450h
  • RX 450hL
  • RC 300

Now that we know that some models of Lexus vehicles will require premium gasoline, we'll explore each one so you'll know what grade of fuel you'll need for your particular model. You might also be wondering if premium gasoline lasts longer or if a Lexus is expensive to maintain. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

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Three different trims of Lexus SUVs and sedans outside a dealership, Do Lexus Cars Require Premium Gas?

Which Lexus vehicles require premium gasoline and which use regular gasoline?

As mentioned, certain models of Lexus will need premium gasoline. Premium gasoline is a fuel that has an octane rating of 91 or higher. Regular gasoline is recognized as fuel with an octane rating of 87 or 89.

Here we've broken down the available models and trim levels from the last several years and separated them by premium and regular gasoline. So pay attention at the pump when selecting your fuel grade.

 Lexus models requiring premium fuel

  • GS 350
  • GS F
  • GX 460
  • IS 300
  • IS 350
  • LC 500
  • LC 500h
  • LX 570
  • NX 300
  • RC 350
  • RC F
  • RX 450h
  • RX 450hL
  • RC 300

Lexus models requiring regular fuel

  • ES 300h, ES 350
  • NX 300h
  • RX 350
  • RX 350L
  • UX 200
  • UX 250h

As you can see, most models of the Lexus do recommend that premium gasoline be used in their fuel tanks. If you have an older model Lexus, please consult the owner's manual for their recommendation of the proper fuel grade to be used for your particular model. 

Why do luxury cars need premium gas?

High-performance engines, like those found under the hoods of most luxury cars and SUVs, need a higher octane gasoline to properly function. There are two reasons for this.

High-performance engines have a much higher compression than the engines in other vehicles. This means that the fuel and air mixture in the engine's cylinders is being mixed in a tighter and more compressed space. This will create more horsepower and better overall performance from the engine.

Premium gasoline will help clean the engine and rid it of carbon buildup. All gasoline has hydrocarbons as a result of the refining process.

The higher levels of detergents present in premium gasoline help to rid your engine of this type of carbon buildup. Having a higher octane fuel will also allow for the fuel and air mixture to ignite at the proper time.

Should you fill the tank with a lower octane fuel, it can not only delay the engine's timing but will also allow for harmful carbon and other gunk to build up in the engine.

Does premium gas last longer?

It's a common misconception that using premium fuel will increase a vehicle's overall fuel economy. Premium gasoline isn't about getting better fuel economy for your vehicle and has nothing to do with it having a longer shelf life.

Filling your fuel tank with a higher octane fuel doesn't mean that you'll get more miles per gallon under any conditions.

Gas indicator showing low fuel on the dashboard

Can I put regular gas in my premium car?

If your vehicle's manufacturer recommends using premium gas, you should heed their advice. Vehicles with high-performance engines work a bit differently than others and will need higher octane fuel to properly function.

While you might not notice a difference immediately, over time you will see a difference in how your engine performs if you are using low octane gasoline in a high-performance engine.

As mentioned, high-performance engines compress fuel and oxygen into a smaller space before combustion. The lower the octane, the sooner this mixture will combust. If combustion occurs too soon, then the timing of the engine will be off. 

Over time, this will lead to your engine making a knocking sound. Vehicles that are recommended to have premium fuel in their engines can face having their warranties voided if they are not using fuel with the correct octane level. 

Car owner gassing up at the gas station

Is premium gas really worth it?

As you've probably noticed, there is a considerable difference in the price of low and high octane fuel. The difference per gallon can add up quite a bit if you are filling the fuel tank of a larger car or SUV. Sometimes, this can mean paying $20 to $30 more for gasoline that has an octane rating of 91 or higher. 

If your vehicle doesn't need premium gasoline, then don't bother putting it in your tank. It won't increase your fuel economy or make your vehicle last longer. Save this type of gasoline for those who have vehicles with engines that need it.

However, the cost is well worth it if your vehicle's manufacturer recommends using premium fuel. Over time, a lower octane fuel will allow for excess hydrocarbons to build up in your high-performance engine. This will greatly impact how well your engine performs.

And, as mentioned, lower octane fuel can result in engine timing issues. This can also lead to expensive parts of your engine getting too hot, thus doing irreversible damage to them.

Different variations of fuel differentiated by number

Is maintenance on a Lexus expensive?

You might think that because Lexus is a luxury make of vehicle that they are expensive to maintain. Higher rated parts can sometimes translate to higher repair and maintenance costs. Anyone who has had to maintain a BMW can tell you that!

Fortunately, Lexus owners don't face the expensive burden of luxury car maintenance like those who own other makes do. Lexus is rated in sixth place for overall cheapest maintenance costs out of all available automakers. A Lexus owner faces an average of $550 per year in repairs and maintenance.

A yellow LC500H photographed at an outdoor car show

As with any model vehicle, you will pay more, in the long run, should you not abide by the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.

You'll have to shell out a little money bit by bit every few months for fluid and filter changes, but it will save you from paying for expensive damages later on. Consult your Lexus owner's manual for a complete list of what routine maintenance should be performed and at what intervals they should be performed. 

In closing

Three different trims of Lexus SUVs and sedans outside a dealership

Not all luxury vehicles will require premium fuel across all trim levels, and Lexus is a great example of this. But should your Lexus owner's manual recommend a high octane fuel for your vehicle, it's important to always use premium. You'll find that your Lexus will not only perform better but will last longer.

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