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high altitude gas


Explorer Addict
October 12, 2010
Reaction score
Littleton, CO
City, State
Littleton, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT
So I was reading through the owner's manual and saw something about how Ford recommends using 87 octane regardless of altitude- even though octane requirements decrease as altitude increases.

Here in the Denver area, regular gas is 85 octane instead of 87. I've always pumped regular regardless of where I lived- CO or KS (regular is 87 in KS).

My dad used to have a 1994 Mazda B4000 and I'm pretty sure he pumped 85 octane and he would say he would get pinging.

What do you high altitude drivers pump?

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Attacking Mid

May 27, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'98 Ltd. 5.0L AWD
We use 85 octane, and I've not noticed any pinging or other ill effects.



Moderator-Stock 91-94
Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
February 9, 1999
Reaction score
City, State
Vail, Arizona
Year, Model & Trim Level
1992 XLT 4x4
I'm pretty sure the newer X's have knock sensors and will pull the timing back if they detect ping which nets you less power.

That said, at the high altitudes you can get away with less octane But with FI and o2 sensors the altitude doesn't affect pinging as much since the ECM changes how much fuel it puts into the engine based on how much air it can get in and how the exhaust "smells" to the ECM.