Toyota Avalon - what grade of fuel?

Can someone tell me what grade of fuel the 2008 Avalon requires.
We have a Lexus ES350 and it takes high test. It's a wonderful car
but it's costing us a fortune.
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Jane wrote:

Toyota. They print a neat book called "the Owner's Manual." Not only does it have the answer to your question, but it has a lot of important information. You need to read it carefully.
I am quite serious about this. You bought a $30,000 piece of equipment. You need to learn about it.

My car takes high octane fuel, too. But it works just as well on regular. ;-)
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Jeff wrote:

According to Wikipedia, the Avalon has the same engine as the ES350, but uses regular fuel. My guess is that the ES 350 will also take regular fuel, but will have slightly lower performance (2% less horsepower and torque), a difference you will probably never notice.
Jeff
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Thanks Jeff, but as I said we have a Lexus right now so I don't have an Avalon Owners Manual.
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You mean, the requirement that was written by marketing people so as to make sure the buyer knows that it must be a "premium" car because it requires "premium" fuel?
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At one point, Lexus made sure to point out that use of lower octane fuel would not damage the engine.
Then one year, they took that out.
Trust me, use of lower octane fuel will not damage the engine. The car doesn't NEED it. Marketing NEEDS it, because stupid buyers think that higher octane fuel is "premium". And of course a "premium" car would naturally require "premium" fuel, right?
Even though the base engine is sold in millions of Camrys.
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Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

It also lets them advertise a higher horsepower and torque spec.
Jeff
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You are correct, over the years many small 4cy Japanese engines were designed to run on higher octanes as they were spun up, so that they could advertise higher HP figures. Unfortunately spinning up an engine to gain HP also lowers the torque curve relationship, separating the torque and HP curves results in cars equipped with an automatic tranny being a slug when one needs that torque to get going and maintain speed on grades. The 4cy in a Camry is a prime example
Modern microprocessors can easily de-tune an engine by adjusting the F/A ratio and timing to run on a lower octane fuel that for which it was designed, however it will not run as efficiently as it will if run on the fuel for which it was designed. When an oil company implies your car will run better or premium fuel, they are not being disingenuous because they are not referring to all cars, rather those designed to run on premium, not running your 89 octane car one 93 octane
Engines designed for higher octane's can easily run satisfactorily on 87 octane fuel. Modern microprocessors can do-tune to compensate for fuels with an octane rating lower than the 93 or 91 octane rating for which the engine was designed to be the most efficient, as long as the result does not cause excess pollution. At that point the check engine light might eliminate as the O2 sensor detects insufficient O2 content. The microprocessor does the same to run on engines that use 89 octane gasoline's when fueled with gasoline's that contains up to 15% ethanol but the result is fewer MPGs
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87 pump octane, otherwise known as "Regular gas".
It says so in the Owner's Manual that came in your glove box. This same document will also tell you how to effectively operate such carnal pleasures as the radio and power/heated seats. You have read this book, no?

Different engine. Different car. Different market.
It's like the difference between Hyundai and Rolls-Royce: Low end, high end. You don't expect the same thing from both ends at the same time.
--
Tegger


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I don't think the OP actually owns an Avalon. It appears to me that he owns an ES350 and wants to know if the Avalon can run on regular, which it can. He could have determined this from a number of on line sources. One such is http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm .

Different than what? Basically just a gussied up Camry at a luxury car price. See http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/reviews/lexus-es350 /.

Except in the case of an ES350, you can expect it to do anything a Camry will at a 20% to 30% higher price. The Avalon is a little different than the ES350/Camry. It has a slightly stretched passenger compartment, but uses the same basic engine as the ES350 and the 3.5L V6 Camry. For 2008, they all get the same 6 speed automatic transmission. And for all practical purposes they have the same EPA fuel economy (well actually the Lexus ES350 get 1 mpg less on the highway, but I suspect this is because all the Lexus ES350s have "all" the optional equipment which slightly lowers fuel economy, I suspect a fully optioned Camry would be about the same).
I am not saying Toyota is the only company that badge engineers moderately priced sedans into "luxury sedans" but the ES350 / Camry is a particularly obvious case (another is the Ford Fusion / Lincoln MKZ). I suppose there is some cachet to impressing your friends with your "Lexus" unless they happen to know it is for all practical purposes a Camry with slightly better interior trim (that ironically reduces overall passenger volume compared to a Camry).
As for the original question. I am sure either car will run just fine on regular fuel. The PCM in the Lexus is probably "tuned" to provide optimum performance on premium fuel, but I am sure it will be able to adjust to run on regular (with some loss in performance and fuel economy).You need to check the fuel economy on both types. The difference using regular could be as much as 5% less (depending on driving style). The increase when using premium probably won't cover the higher cost of premium, but it will certainly reduce the apparent saving of using regular. Hard drivers are likely to see more of a difference than gentle drivers, so that should factor into the decision as well.
Ed
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Yes, but the ES350's Owner's Manual specifies 91 octane, whereas the Avalon's says 87 octane.
This suggests the Lexus's engine has some fundamental difference from the Avalon's, such as a higher compression ratio.
--
Tegger

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Let's settle this using real science. :-) I have a 2002 Tacoma double cab, 6-cyl auto. Black sand pearl, also known as black. Optional winter floor mats in front. The manual says it should be happy with 87 octane gas. I go to the same three gas stations for the most part. But occasionally, if I'm away from my home area, I'll buy 87 octane from a no-name station, and I'll get some knocking, and not just when I'm really getting on the gas. Just normal acceleration. So now, if I'm buying from a dealer I'm not familiar with, I'll buy a half a tank. If it knocks, there's room in the tank to add some 93 octane.
Now that's science!
When I first got the truck, I was making the same 200 mile trip every couple of weeks, all highway driving with some moderate hills. I found no difference in mpg with different grades of fuel. If there was a performance difference, it wasn't noticeable. I'm not drag racing. I'm just driving. I used cruise control for the flat highways, but not in the hills, for obvious reasons.
I sometimes tow a 1000 boat/trailer. That's about 1/3 the towing capacity of the truck. With 87 octane, I lose 1-2 mpg on hilly roads, and nothing on flat roads. So, for certain trips, I'll use the middle grade fuel. It's an extra $1.60 for a tankful.
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<snipped>

Your Tacoma has a knock sensor, so the knocking should go away after about 3 seconds. If it continues to knock, check out the knock sensor and base ignition timing.

In a vehicle that is programmed to use 87 octane, there will be no performance improvement by using higher octane fuel unless there is a problem with the engine or engine programming. Ignition timing is programmed to advance based on engine RPM, and the ECM will retard ignition timing if it starts getting a signal from the knock sensor. In the absence of a signal from the knock sensor, the ignition timing will advance by its programmed amount, so there is nothing to be gained by higher octane fuel.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
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Actually, it suggests more that the marketing people stuck their hands into things and overrode the engineers.
The marketing people have a vested interest in the buyer thinking that he has something "better". And as we all know, public perception is that "premium" gas must be better because they call it "premium"--when the only difference in most cases (except Shell) is octane rating.
Running grocery store 91 or 93 octane gas is probably worse for your ES than running Shell 87.
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wrote:

So why do you think Shell is better than BP, or Chevron, or Texaco? Remember Shell is the company than refined gasoline that destroyed thousands of in tank fuel level sensors because of excess sulfur....http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/food-stores/4482391-1.html .
I'll bet you the "Shell" gas in Southeastern Virginia comes out of the same refinery as the BP gas in Southeastern Virginia (although I am sure the additive packages are different). GM, Toyota, BMW all recommend the so called "Top Tier" gasolines, and Shell is one of the providers of this type, but not the only. Ford recommends BP (but doesn't require it). And remember that until Chevron took over Texaco, Shell and Texaco gasoline was actually provided by two joint ventures owned by Shell, Texaco,and Aramco (look up Equilon Enterprises and Motiva).
Here are out of date description of Equilion and Motiva:
"EQUILON ENTERPRISES LLC. On January 15, 1998, Shell Oil and Texaco Inc. ("Texaco") reached agreement on the formation and operational start up, effective January 1, 1998, of Equilon Enterprises LLC ("Equilon"). Equilon is a joint venture which combines major elements of both companies' western and midwestern United States refining and marketing businesses and both companies' nationwide trading, transportation and lubricants businesses."
"MOTIVA ENTERPRISES LLC. As reported in the Company's Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Commission on July 1, 1998, on July 1, 1998 Shell Oil, Texaco and Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) jointly announced the formation and operational start-up of Motiva Enterprises LLC (Motiva), a joint venture combining major elements of the three companies' eastern and Gulf Coast United States refining and marketing businesses, including assets previously held by Star Enterprise, a partnership of corporate affiliates of Texaco and Saudi Aramco. Shell Oil has 35 percent ownership of Motiva, and Texaco and Saudi Refining, Inc., a corporate affiliate of Saudi Aramco, each have 32.5 percent ownership of the company (such ownership to be subject to adjustment in the future based on the performance of the assets)."
After Chevron purchased Texaco, they were forced to divest their interest in Equilon and Motiva. Around here, that meant most Texaco Stations became Shell Stations. The gas is still the same as before, even the additive package (referred to before as "System 3" at Texaco Stations).
I think you are fooling yourself if you think Shell gasoline is "special," at least compared to other major brands. And remember, Shell owns the company that markets "Slick 50." It is hard to trust a company that sells that snake oil.
Ed

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It is better than BP; I don't have Chevron or Texaco to compare to.
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While the gasoline probably did come out of a common tank somewhere, I'll bet you that the Shell additive packages are way different than the BP additive packages.
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You will win that bet! Current environmental laws do not allow different type of gasoline to be stored or transported in the same container at different times. I E Today a tank truck that loaded regular can not be reloaded with premium etc, without first being purged and the purge medium disposed of environmentally. When the seasons change from hot to cold for example and the volatility must be changed every thing must be purged as well. One of the reason gas cost so must today are those types of federal regulations. Companies need to buy more trucks as a result. The same is true of the gas lines. A company can not pump gasoline through a line that is different than what was pumped before. The days of pumping a given number of gallons of one brand, to a tank farm, and then a given number of gallons of another brand, are long gone. In the old days they would simply draw of the last, say 50K of the one brand and 50K gallon of the next brand, or one octane rating and another, to purge the line. The draw off, known as "plug" gas was sold of to independent stations.
Today all of the gasoline(s) pumped, designed to meet the environmental requirements of a given area, or a state, are the same. The gasoline sold at brand X station in one state or area is different than the gas sold by brand X in another state or area, as well. The oil companies refer to it as "57" varieties compliance. For example one does not get the same brand X gas in Nevada as they do in California. Sunoco gas in New Jersey contains 15% ethanol by law and in Pa it does not necessarily contain ethanol.
Today the gasoline is drawn off at the different brand terminals, the different additives, coloring and such for that brand are added at their terminal giving them their "own" gasoline. After Katrina, and the loss of production causing a shortage was ramping up the price of gas, President Bush issued an order suspending "57" varieties compliance for two weeks allowing any gas to be transported to any were and that brought the price back down
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I believe that the ignition timing advances more quickly on the Lexus version of the engine.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
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"Ray O" <rokigawaATtristarassociatesDOTcom> wrote in

That would /definitely/ account for a fuel difference. Combustion chamber pressures would therefore rise much higher.
--
Tegger


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