A car’s gas mileage is something that is one of the defining factors of a good engine and it is used as a marketing tool as well.
Gas mileage is basically a measure of how well a vehicle consumes fuel. In other words, it shows how far it can go in one tank of fuel/gas.
When you purchase a car, it is not very easy to ignore a model that displays a good gas mileage. It is perhaps also quite easy to calculate a car’s gas mileage.
On the other hand, the fuel consumption on a personal watercraft (PWC) is a little difficult to understand.
Many PWC buyers are concerned with the fuel consumption of the model they are looking to buy and it is justified.
While it may not be the greatest concerns, it is still a valid question and there is nothing wrong in wanting to know how far your watercraft can go on a full tank of gas.
It is, however, harder to measure fuel consumption in a PWC as compared to a car and it varies a great deal with different types and models of watercraft.
Beyond gas consumption, there are many important factors and specifications that may affect your maintenance costs:
- Purchase price
- Top speed and acceleration
- PWC & trailer weight
- Factory weight limit
- Hull dimensions
- Purpose of use
Before we look into the topic in more detail, there are a few definitions that need to be understood in order to get a better grasp of what the whole fuel consumption deal is with watercrafts.
Gallon Per Hour (GPH):
This measure is common in the world of riding and boating as there are usually not any straight roads that are being followed as for the distance traveled to be measurable.
Therefore, the “per hour” record is more accurate as it is easier to keep a track of how long the engine has been running for.
Moreover, water conditions are also more susceptible to change than road conditions, making it harder for the traveler to keep track of distance. Thus, whatever number precedes the “GPH” or “gar/h” is the number of gallons of fuel that a watercraft has used up over the course of an hour.
The formula is: GPH = gallons burned / hours ridden.
Miles Per Gallon (MPG):
Miles per gallon is a measure that is not completely obsolete. It is most often used by PWC riders that travel with the use of a GPS. The GPS can measure the distance effectively and therefore this measure refers to the number of miles traveled on one gallon of fuel.
The formula is: MPG = miles ridden / gallons burned.
Best Cruise Speed:
The fuel efficiency of a PWC can be measured in another way known as the Best Cruise Speed. Every watercraft burns a variable amount of fuel on different speeds.
This fact can be used to measure the different amounts of fuel that a watercraft burns on different speed level. Once that has been measured, an “optimum” speed can be determined which is in effect the most fuel-efficient speed.
This means that if the watercraft runs on this speed, it can cover the most distance in one gallon of fuel.
Most PWCs have an average optimum speed of 20-30 Mph.
Wide Open Throttle (WOT):
This is the highest speed that a PWC can reach. Also known as full throttle, this is when the acceleration of your watercraft is at zero and the speed is the highest.
Fuel consumption at full throttle is usually the most inefficient as any motor vehicle burns the most fuel at the highest speed.
A little history
It could be interesting if we look back a little in the past, when PWCs arrived without supercharged engines.
If we have a look at Sea-Doo’s top performance models from previous years, we will notice that the recent model (RXT-X300) burns three times as much as the XP did fifteen years ago!
Of course, their performance is an entirely different factor!
|Year||Model||GPH at WOT||HP|
|2016 - 2019||RXT-X 300||25||300|
|2010 - 2015||RXT-X 260||20.6||260|
|2008 - 2009||RXT-X 255||20.2||255|
|2005 - 2007||RXT 215||18.2||215|
|2003 -2004||GTX SC||16.4||185|
|1997 - 2002||XP||11,7||130|
|1995 - 1996||XP||8.2||110|
The differences are even more visible when the numbers are displayed on a graph:
Yes, it seems we have to refuel much more often!
Sea-Doo, WaveRunner and Jet Ski gas consumption specs
All their models arrive with different engines, different tank sizes and varying fuel consumption specs.
Along with other factors of its maintenance, the time for which a model is in also plays an important role in affecting its fuel consumption.
This is why it is not an easy task to assign numbers to any model or condition. Therefore, it is highly recommended for a first-time buyer to conduct proper research before finalizing their watercraft.
You could do this by visiting a nearby showroom or using our head-by head, Sea-Doo vs WaveRunner vs Jet Ski comparison tool.
Compare different models and dealers thoroughly before making the final purchase!
PWC gas consumption at full speed
PWC fuel consumption is the most inefficient at top speeds and the number of gallons consumed at full throttle plus the hours you can ride could vary significantly.
This depends on many factors including performance, weight or fuel capacity.
In order to narrow down your options, we have compiled a chart of some of the popular watercraft models.
You can discover and compare these consumption specs in the chart below.
If you like, you can sort out the rows by clicking on the header. Are you curious about a specific model?
Click on the model name to find additional specifications, pictures, videos and comparisons!
Some additions to the chart:
GPH at WOT – Gallons Per Hour, it means the hourly fuel consumption at full throttle (WOT) in gallon
MPG at WOT – Miles per gallon – How far can you ride with one gallon gas at full throttle (WOT)
Hours at WOT – Maximum number of hours you can ride with one tank of gas at full throttle (WOT)
Miles at WOT – Maximum number of miles you can ride with one tank of gas at full throttle (WOT)
|Brand||Model||GPH at WOT||MPG at WOT||Hours at WOT||Miles at WOT|
|Sea-Doo||SPARK 60 HP||2||21||4,0||166|
|Sea-Doo||SPARK 90 HP||2,4||20||3,3||158|
|Kawasaki||STX - 15F||12||5,2||1,4||85|
|Yamaha||VX Cruiser HO||13,5||5,1||1,4||94|
|Yamaha||FX Cruiser HO||13,6||4,6||1,4||85|
|Yamaha||FX Cruiser SVHO||21||3,3||0,9||61|
However, it should be kept in mind that the numbers mentioned in the chart are all based on testing and the factors like temperature, the type of water (saltwater or fresh) and the curb weight on the watercraft still have their role to play.
In order to give you a better understanding of the situation, we can summarize the main points like:
How long, how far?
A watercraft operated at full speed can burn between
2 to 25 gallons of gas per hour.
It means you can expect as high as 4 hours of riding,
or even as low as around 30-45 minutes of riding
without refill in case of some flagship models!
Based on the test numbers from the chart, we can make a head-by-head comparison through a graph.
From this graph, you can compare how many hours you can ride with one tank of gas at full speed:
If you would like to learn about these models, don’t hesitate to discover them here:
- Sea-Doo Spark 90 HP
- Yamaha EX WaveRunner
- Kawasaki STX-15F Jet Ski
- Yamaha Cruiser SVHO WaveRunner
- Kawasaki Ultra 310R Jet Ski
- Sea-Doo RXT-X 300
The size of tanks on different models of watercraft is variable from six to up to 20 gallons, with an average of fifteen. This shows that:
An average watercraft can
run for 1 – 2 hours on full throttle,
with a full tank of gas, while burning around
10-15 gallons of gas.
However, be vary of the high-performance models that have supercharged engines of 230-310 HP.
These watercrafts can easily eat up 20-25 gallons per hour on full throttle and therefore, the fuel cost might be a hit to your pocket.
The Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 is one of the more famous PWCs of its kind and has the ability to burn up to 25 gallons in an hour running on full throttle.
Its tank, however, is only big enough to house 15,9 gallons at once, making it impossible for you to travel a greater distance (less than 50 miles!) at top speed without needing a refill very soon.
In fact, the time is just under 38 minutes.
This pocket-friendly watercraft only consumes 2 gallons per hour at full throttle and gives you up to 4 hours of fun with its 7.9 gallons of fuel capacity.
There is no comparison of performance or top speed to be made between the two models, of course.
These watercrafts arrive with the lowest and highest fuel consumption numbers from all main manufacturers:
To make this comparison fairer, we introduced the Spark 90 HP model here which burns 2.4 gallons per hour at WOT.
So, to get a better apple-to-apple comparison, you can find the 90 HP Spark in the graph, what burns 2.4 gallons per hour.
On full throttle, the EX Waverunner burns near eight gallons, while STX-15F Jet Ski gas consumption is still moderate, just 14 gallons per hour.
On the other end of the spectrum, the flagship models can burn as high as 20-25 gallons per hour!
PWC gas consumption at best cruise speed
Many riders are interested to know how long they can ride their PWC for in one tank of fuel before needing a refill. These fuel range numbers become of utmost importance if you are interested in touring. This activity has become more and more popular these days.
For those of you concerned, we have compiled the average numbers of some famous models of the watercraft in the chart below.
You can find the same jet ski models here which you found in the previous chart, but now you can compare them by test numbers which are calculated at “best cruise speed”.
This is the speed at which the PWC operates in the most fuel efficient way.
If you like, you can sort the rows out by clicking on the header. Are you curious about a specific model? Click an on the model name to find additional specifications, pictures, videos and comparisons!
|Brand||Model||GPH at best criuse||MPG at best cruise||Hours at best cruise||Miles at best cruise|
|Yamaha||FX Cruiser HO||2,9||7,2||6,4||133|
|Yamaha||VX Cruiser HO||3,2||7,7||5,8||142|
|Yamaha||FX Cruiser SVHO||3,4||7,3||5,4||135|
As thrilling and exciting as riding a watercraft on full throttle sounds, it is hardly ever done for hours. Most frequently, a PWC is ridden on its best cruise speed which is on average around 25-30 mph.
With the invention of ECO modes, achieving a good gas mileage on your watercraft has been made easier. These modes conveniently keep you on the best cruise speed without you having to worry about the acceleration or the calculation.
An average watercraft burns
3- 4 gallons per hour
at the best cruise speed,
and you can ride 4 – 7 hours
with one full tank of gas.
At best cruise speed, even the flagship models are surprisingly fuel-efficient.
If we take the example of a new Sea-Doo RXT-X, it is capable of riding up to 4 hours straight without needing a refill and for a distance of around 108 miles.
The competitor Yamaha GP1800R Waverunner can take you 144 miles without a refill.
If you want to go further, the Yamaha VX Cruiser can take you to a distance of around 170 miles on one full tank of gas.
Unfortunately, at this point, there are no available test numbers for the Sea-Doo Spark fuel consumption at best cruise speed.
But we are sure that it would provide really good mileage on a full tank of gas!
There are several factors that affect the usage of gas by a watercraft.
The rule of thumb is that the faster you ride, the more fuel it will be used. We’ve looked through the advantages of the best cruise speed; anything above that is going to start burning fuel more rapidly.
On the contrary, the type of engine greatly determines a PWC’s MPG.
Larger displacement will cause more fuel consumption and with a supercharger it could even skyrocket!
So yes, high performance and even supercharged engines mean much more fuel consumption.
If you find yourself shopping for watercraft with a supercharged engine, be prepared to pay for the gas and maintenance it’s going to require.
Riding conditions also affect your Sea-Doo, WaveRunner or Jet Ski mileage.
Smoother water will also allow watercraft to go farther on less gas. Choppy water makes the watercraft work much harder than usual.
Temperature and other water conditions are all a factor again.
Like what you read? Don’t forget to share this valuable information with your friends!
Become a fan on Facebook
News, reviews, videos and more…