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What Determines The Fuel Efficiency of a Jet Ski?

What Determines The Fuel Efficiency of a Jet Ski?

A jet ski’s fuel efficiency is the main focus these days as gas prices continue to increase.

Jet skis are definitely not the most fuel-efficient vessels on the water. Despite their smaller sizes, they’re able to burn 20-25 gallons of gas every hour depending on the model!

That’s why it’s important to know what determines a jet ski’s fuel efficiency, especially if you’re considering buying one.

If you have a jet ski already, you may also want to know what the factors are to reduce your gas bills and reach higher distances on the water. This can be especially important if you go for a longer tour or even a jet ski fishing trip.

For your convenience, we at JetDrift have collected and shared this information for you in this post!

What Determines the Fuel Efficiency of a Jet Ski?


When it comes to vehicles, the main factor that determines their fuel efficiency is the performance of their engines.

Everything starts with the size of the engine, and as a rule of thumb, the more displacement (the volume of all the engine’s cylinders) the engine has, the more performance it can produce.

Today’s jet ski engines start from 700cc and can reach the 1800cc range, while an “average” jet ski has 1000-1600cc engines. You can discover and compare the current model’s performances in one chart here.Beyond the displacement, another important factor in fuel efficiency is if the engine is supercharged or not.

With a supercharger, a jet ski goes fast as hell, which is great fun, but its fuel consumption skyrockets as well! Don’t even mention higher prices, maintenance costs, and less reliability.

Always consider these factors before choosing your jet ski! If you stick to supercharged models, you can browse and compare them here.

What’s more, bigger engines are usually heavier, and need a bigger hull, so the more powerful models are the heaviest as well.


The curb weight also affects the jet ski’s fuel efficiency. The curb weight of a vessel means its full weight, which contains the weight of the liquids, fuel, and accessories.

And don’t forget about your and your passenger’s weight, as you’re also sitting on the jet ski when it’s in motion!

The more weight the engine has to move, the more gas will be burned. So if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient jet ski, you should take a look at the more lightweight models in the Rec-Lite and Recreation category.

Also, don’t overload the jet ski with too much gear, as exceeded weight capacity can capsize your jet ski easily, and increase fuel consumption as well. Moreover, pay attention to the right weight distribution, as an unbalanced jet ski is always less fuel-efficient.

Hull shape

Beyond the weight, the shape of the hull is also an important factor. Jet skis come with several different hull shapes, but one of the key points is always how deep they are in the water during the rides.

Although the hulls with a deep V-shape are better for rough water as they offer comfortable rides, they are deeper in the water while in motion and also plane harder which means these models burn more gas.

Riding style

Sepaking of the riding style, it also determines how often you should refill your jet ski. It’s a commonplace fact that the high speed burns more fuel, as internal combustion engines are always less fuel-efficient at maximum speed.

If you want to reach higher distances on the water, you should choose the “best cruise speed” which may vary from model to model, but in general, you can expect it to be somewhere between 20-30 mph.

Also, avoid aggressive accelerations or idling the engine while the jet ski is not in motion to save more gas. (Use the „ECO” mode if your jet ski has.)

If the jet ski is equipped with trim, make sure that you set it properly; this helps the jet ski to plane perfectly.


Always pay attention to proper maintenance, as a poorly serviced jet ski is not just prone to malfunctions, but can burn more gas as well.

Check your owner’s manual for the service periods and follow the instructions strictly in any case! Also, don’t forget to do the pre-ride check and the after-ride care every day you’ve used your jet ski!

Other factors

There are several other factors that can affect fuel efficiency on a jet ski which you can’t influence. These are typically weather elements like temperature, wind, and waves.

What’s more, these can change even in a day, so that’s why you should follow the 1/3-1/3 fuel management rule if you go offshore with your jet ski!


As you can see, there are several factors that determine a jet ski’s fuel efficiency.

One of the main factors is always the engine’s performance. The larger displacement means more horsepower and higher fuel consumption.

Supercharged jet skis are especially famous for burning even 20-25 gallons of gas in a single hour, if you ride them really hard.

The shape of the hull and the curb weight of the craft also affects fuel consumption, just like your riding style or the weather conditions.

Additionally, don’t forget to get regular maintenance done on your ski, as poorly serviced engines are always prone to burn more gas. Always check your owner’s manual for the service intervals!

If you are looking for the most fuel-efficient jet skis, you can find these models here!

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