Would You Buy a Heavy-Duty Ram Truck That Needs Premium Gasoline?
Gasoline prices are going up and the price of premium is nearly out-of-sight. Yet in March, Ram unveiled its premium-only replacement for the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 currently used in its heavy-duty trucks. Would you buy a premium-only Ram?
Is Ram building a new engine?
In March 2022, Ram unveiled its V8 replacement: the “Hurricane” inline six-cylinder makes V8 power with advanced turbocharger technology. Ram’s parent company, Stellantis, said the I6 will be the primary internal combustion power plant of its future full-frame vehicles for the North American market–including Ram trucks.
When Stellantis set about engineering a V8 replacement it targeted more horsepower, more torque, and more fuel efficiency than its outgoing HEMI engines. The result was a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder. With responsive turbochargers and high-pressure fuel injection, this next generation surpasses the V8s it replaces in every metric. See a breakdown below:
|5.7-liter HEMI V8||SO “Hurricane” I6||6.4-liter HEMI V8||HO “Hurricane” I6|
|Displacement||5.7 liters (345 cubic inches)||3.0 liters (approx. 183 cubic inches)||6.4 liters (392 cubic inches)||3.0 liters (approx. 183 cubic inches)|
|Horsepower||363-395 horsepower||400+ horsepower||470-485 horsepower||500+ horsepower|
|Torque||394-410 lb-ft||450+ lb-ft||470-475 lb-ft||475+ lb-ft|
|Boost||Naturally-Aspirated||22 psi||Naturally-Aspirated||26 psi|
That said, the Hurricane engine’s impressive numbers come at a cost. One of the reasons this new engine will be so efficient and powerful is that it is engineered to run on 91 octane premium gasoline.
What kind of gas does the Hurricane engine take?
When Stellantis announced the turbocharged “Hurricane” I6 engine, it admitted that its 500+ horsepower high output variant would only run on 91 octane premium gasoline. The automaker also “recommends” premium fuel for the regular output Hurricane.
The Hurricane will pressure this 91 octane fuel to 5,074 psi. Then it will mix it with the turbocharged air that is pressurized to 22+ psi. The high output Hurricane, will then compress this mixture 9.5:1 before igniting it.
While Stellantis says 91 octane fuel is mandatory for the high output Hurricane, it only recommends you use 91 octane in the regular Hurricane. Stellantis has tuned the regular Hurricane for fuel efficiency, not output.
Which Ram trucks will get an I6 engine?
Based on the Stellantis Hurricane I6’s performance numbers, the regular output version will replace the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 in the Ram 1500 while the high output Hurricane will replace the 6.4-liter (392 cubic inches) HEMI V8 in the heavy-duty Ram trucks.
If Ram puts the regular output Hurricane in the 1500 and the high output variation in the 2500+ heavy-duty trucks, than the type of fuel you used would depend on your new Ram truck. Owners of future Ram 1500s will be able to use regular gas, though the company will recommend they use 91 octane premium. Owners of gasoline-powered Ram 2500, 3500, and larger pickup trucks will have to use 91 octane premium gas.
At the end of the day, will you save money with the new fuel-efficient Ram engine if you have to pump premium? Ram has not yet released a fuel mileage target for its Hurricane I6, and the EPA has not published final ratings. Therefore, we don’t know yet whether running expensive Premium in a more efficient engine will lead to a net loss or net gain.