Does Honda Pilot Require Premium Gas?

You've noticed the various grades of gasoline when filling up your vehicle's tank. Which one to choose? If you are driving a Honda Pilot and wonder if you need to put premium fuel in its tank, we can help you. We took a close look at this popular SUV and researched it from multiple professional sources, so you'll be able to get the correct answer here.

The Honda Pilot does not require premium gasoline. Honda has standard fuel requirements for all of their model vehicles that state they should be run on unleaded gasoline rated 87 octane or higher.

Now that the Honda Pilot doesn't need premium gasoline, we'll look deeper into what Honda recommends for fueling this vehicle. You might be curious if premium gas will clean your engine or if this fuel grade will increase your fuel economy. The answers to these questions might surprise you. Read ahead and find out what we've found out.

aroad car Honda Pilot 3 generation black in winter off-road, Does Honda Pilot Require Premium Gas?

Fuel requirements for a Honda Pilot

Honda designs their engines to run off of regular unleaded gasoline. So long as it has an octane rating of 87 or higher, any unleaded gasoline will be safe to use in fueling your Pilot or any other Honda passenger vehicle.

This automaker does caution against using certain types of fuel, along with fuel that might contain specific additives. When you are at the pump, be sure to pay close attention to your choices. It's critical for the health of your Honda's engine that you avoid the fuels we listed below.

red green yellow orange color fuel gasoline dispenser


While you might think this is a type of gasoline, E85 is not. This is classified as an alternative fuel, using a blend of ethanol and gasoline. The amount of ethanol in this blend is between 51% and 83%.

Four-Wheel Trends tells us that if you mistakenly fill your tank with E85, it won't destroy your engine. Let it run its course, and you'll be fine. Your check engine light will most likely illuminate, and you'll undoubtedly notice some performance issues with your Pilot, but these are short-term.

A Honda engine is not designed to run off of any alternative fuel. Using this in your Pilot long-term will undoubtedly damage the engine, so be sure to look carefully at what you select at the pump!


Though you won't find it at most convenience stores, you might stumble across one that does offer methanol blended gasoline. The Honda Pilot owner's manual explicitly states that methanol should never be put into the vehicle's tank.


You might also see a blend of gasoline that has MMT listed as an ingredient. The Pilot's owner's manual also states to never put any blend of fuel with MMT in this vehicle. 

Also known by its scientific name methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl, MMT is meant to be an octane enhancer. While in more common use decades ago, MMT has been pretty much made obsolete by modern fuel emissions systems. Using fuel with MMT as an additive can lead to corrosive buildup and damage your Pilot.

For the most part, what you'll see available at gas pumps across the country will have fuel-rated safe for your Honda Pilot. After all, except for E85, you'll probably not see any harmful options to your engine. But that doesn't mean that every "safe" option is necessarily the right one for your vehicle. This leads us to the question of premium gasoline.

What is premium gasoline?

With a name like "premium, " you might think that this is the best grade of fuel for your vehicle. Most of the time, however, this is not the case. Premium fuel is recommended for certain types of engines only. 

The short way to explain what premium gasoline it would be to say that it is a fuel that has a higher octane rating. Regular gasoline will have an octane rating of 87 or 90. But a premium fuel will be 91 or higher.

This higher-octane fuel is engineered for high-performance engines. These engines have a higher fuel compression ratio than other vehicles and need fuel that will not combust too early. The higher the octane, the higher the compression ratio, giving the engine more power. 

What happens if you don't use premium gasoline?

We'll dig into whether or not premium fuel will impact vehicles that don't require it later in this post. We'll take a look at what can happen if you don't use premium at the pump when you have a car that should be running on it. 

Earlier in this post, we mentioned that high-performance engines need a higher octane fuel. Lower octane gasoline will combust in the engine before it's supposed to. This can lead to engine knocking.

This pesky noise is more than just jarring. The knocks can damage the pistons, valves, and other vital parts of the engine. Additionally, having the fuel combust too early will dramatically affect the fuel economy, lowering the gas mileage.

Car gas nozzle auto filling refuel fill up with premium petrol gasoline

Will premium gas clean my engine?

Someone might have told you at one point that using premium gasoline now and again will cleanse your engine of gunk and debris. We can tell you that this couldn't be further from the truth.

The Federal Trade Commission has reported no noticeable benefit from filling your tank with premium fuel if your engine does not require it. In short, it will not make your car perform any better, make it have more horsepower, and will not offer any cleansing benefits. 

The bottom line here is that if you have a vehicle that requires premium fuel, you should always use that grade. But for those who don't, it's a waste of money to fill your car with this fuel. Next time you're at the pump, look at the price differences between the 87 octane and the premium, and you'll get an idea of how much money you can save per tank.

gasoline nozzle for car refueling at gas station

Does premium fuel give you better gas mileage?

You might believe that paying more for a better fuel grade will give your vehicle a better fuel economy. Surprisingly enough, premium gasoline won't do a thing for your gas mileage.
For vehicles that require it, premium fuel makes the engine perform to its best standards. Depriving the engine of this fuel will impact performance and lead to maintenance issues, as we discussed earlier in this post. And using lower octane fuel will undoubtedly affect the fuel economy when it comes to this type of engine.
Holding a fuel nozzle against with gas station
But for vehicles that don't require premium at the pump, there won't be any difference in how many miles you get per gallon. Read your owner's manual carefully and only use the fuel it recommends. It will save you money, whether at the pump or the mechanic.

Final thoughts

road car Honda Pilot 3 generation black in winter off-road

The Honda Pilot, like other Honda vehicles, does not require premium gasoline. Should you ever find yourself in possession of a vehicle that recommends premium fuel, you must use this fuel grade for the vehicle's performance and reliability. Ignoring fuel recommendations can lead to engine misfires and other serious issues. Drive safe!

If you liked reading our post on the Honda Pilot, be sure to check out the following posts on these popular Honda SUVs:

Can You Flat Tow A Honda Pilot?

How To Fold The Back Seat Of A Honda CR-V

Does The Honda HR-V Come With Leather Seats?

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