How Much Gas Does a Boat Use? Keep Your Out-of-Pocket Fuel Costs Down

Congratulations on your new boat!

Boats are fun and they are a great way to get out on the water and fill your summer with adventure. One of the most commonly asked questions by new boat owners is: how much gas will my boat use?

We wish it were as simple as giving you a clear-cut number, as this would make budgeting simple, and you would always know just how much money you needed to fill up the tank. However, there is no simple answer to give as the amount of gas your boat uses will depend on the size of the boat, the speed, the model, and the number of hours it is in use.

For example, a smaller boat may be able to cruise around and only use around 5 gallons of gas per hour, but a larger boat may, at the same speeds and conditions, use upwards of 25 gallons of gas per hour.

Below, we will discuss ways that you can determine how much gas your boat uses and then provide you with some tips to help keep your out-of-pocket fuel costs down.

Gas Consumption of a Boat

In general, most boats are able to travel anywhere from 5 to 30 miles on a single tank of gas. With that said, there are many different factors that affect how much gas is actually used.

Factors to Keep in Mind

One of the first factors to keep in mind is your boat’s MPG. The average boat will require about one to four gallons of gas per mile at a total speed of about 20 knots.

The next thing you need to keep in mind is the type of boat that you have. If you have a speedboat, it will require more fuel than a fishing or pontoon boat. For example, a fast speedboat can utilize as much as 30 gallons of fuel per hour.

Next, think about the size of your boat. Smaller boats will use less fuel than larger boats. You should also look at your engine and whether it is ideal for the size of your boat. A larger boat with too small a motor will use more fuel than is needed to power it.

The engine and the condition of the engine matter as well. Just as we stated above that too small an engine on a larger boat will affect your fuel consumption, so will the type of engine you have and its condition. You want to keep your engine in its best condition to be able to conserve fuel and not use more than is needed. In addition, a lower horsepower engine will use less gas than a higher horsepower engine.

Another factor to keep in mind is your driving style. Driving erratically or constantly stopping and starting again will cause you to use more fuel. Overworking the engine will cause you to use more fuel but constantly going too slow to stretch your fuel consumption can cause you to use more too.

The wind and weather conditions will also affect how much fuel is consumed by your boat. Heavy rain, wind, and waves will cause your boat to work harder and use up more fuel than needed.

Lastly, the type of fuel that you use in your boat will affect your MPG as well. You should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on the type of fuel octane you should be using to ensure your boat runs the way it should and so you can maximize your MPG.

Tips to Lower Your Out-of-Pocket Fuel Expenses

  • Balance the load on your boat
  • Choose a boat with good MPG
  • Adjust your boat speed and avoid drag and idling
  • Keep your boat and engine tuned up
  • Avoid excess weight on the boat, unless absolutely needed
  • Avoid boating in harsh weather conditions

How Much Gas Does Your Boat Use?

While there is no one answer to this question, you can determine how much gas your boat uses by using online calculators and taking into consideration the above factors.

One way to save money on gas is to avoid filling up at the marina as the gas can sometimes be overpriced there.

The next time you go out on your boat, keep the above factors in mind and determine just what your MPG is.

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