How Far can a Jet Ski Go on One Tank of Gas? [MPG Chart]
“How far can a Jet Ski go on one tank of gas?” – This is a typical question for many beginners and for those who prefer other brands but would like to know the current Yamaha WaveRunner and Sea-Doo’s gas mileage.
In this post, we’ll focus on the current personal watercraft MPG (miles per gallon) numbers, and best practices for how you can reach the highest distances on the water. If you’d like to learn more about fuel consuption in general, don’t miss our deep research on this topic.
You may be wondering why these fuel consumption and MPG specs are becoming more important nowdays? It’s because personal watercrafts (PWC) have became bigger over the years, so they’re already a true alternative to small boats.
Because of this, their use has also changed radically. Nowdays, they are used more often for longer tours as well as PWC fishing trips.
And as we know, riding long distances always means a lot of fuel! Therefore, it’s essential to know how far you can go on a Jet Ski or Sea-Doo before it runs out of gas.
To help your research, we at JetDrift have collected some Sea-Doo, WaveRunner and Jet Ski MPG specs into one chart, as well as some useful definitions on this topic!
Basic Definitions – GPH vs. MPG
Before we go into the details, we need to clarify some basic terms for better understanding.
Gallon Per Hour (GPH)
When it comes to boats and jet skis, this measure is commonly used for measuring gas consumption. As jet skiing usually means “playing around” without going anywhere, it makes more sense to check the running hours on the water instead of distances.
Regarding running hours, the “GPH” on a watercraft means the number of gallons of gas you burn during one hour of riding.
The formula is: GPH = gallons of gas burned/hours ridden.
Miles Per Gallon (MPG)
Even if the common measurement is GPH in the marine world, if you prefer touring or jet ski fishing, you’ll probably travel long distances at a steady speed. Thus, you may want to know your Sea-Doo or Jet Ski’s miles per gallon (MPG) specs. This number means the miles you can ride on a single gallon of gas.
The formula is for MPG (Miles Per Gallon) = miles ridden/gallons of gas burned.
Best Cruise Speed
At different speeds, personal watercraft burn different amounts of gas. If you want to reach the widest span of miles on the water, you have to choose the “best cruise speed”.
This means the optimum speed for which your PWC is most fuel efficient so you can ride the maximum distance on one tank of gas. From model to model, this best cruise speed can vary, but in general, it means 25-30 mph in case of most PWCs.
Wide Open Throttle (WOT)
WOT (known as “full throttle”) simply means riding at full speed. At this speed, the PWC’s engine is usually the least efficient, so it means the worst miles per gallon on the water!
What Does a Jet Ski’s Range Depend on?
When it comes to hard numbers for current models, some facts need to be clarified at the beginning.
The rule of thumb is that higher performance always means higher fuel consumption.
But it’s good to know that there are many other factors you have to consider beyond performance specs, and the different testing conditions always provide different fuel consumption results on the same watercraft. Thus, it’s impossible to give the exact “GPH” number for each watercraft model.
The reason for this is that many different factors, especially weather conditions affect the PWC’s fuel range heavily These are typically the below:
- Air temperature
- Water temperature
- Water conditions (choppy/calm)
- Fresh water/Salt water
- Curb weight of the PWC
- Rider’s riding style and position
- PWC’s performance
- Rider’s weight and size
- Tank sizes
- And many others
As you can see, there are many factors that can affect fuel consumption, but the main factors which you probably have to “face” on the water are the wind and the choppy water.
Jet Ski MPG vs. WaveRunner and Sea-Doo MPG Chart
While we can’t provide exact numbers we at JetDrift have collected some fuel consumption information.
These numbers are based on real tests, but you should know that based on the facts outlined above, your fuel consumption numbers can be different, even from ride to ride!
MPG at WOT
As you learned, gas consumption is less efficient at top speeds, but it’s also good to know how far you can go if you ride really hard. To help your buying decision, we’ve gathered some popular watercraft models’ MPG specs at WOT.
If you like, you can sort 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 means the hourly fuel consumption at full throttle (WOT)
MPG at WOT – Miles Per Gallon – How far you can ride with one gallon of 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|
So again, even though these hard numbers are based on real-world tests, please consider these numbers as “for information purposes only”!
How Much Gas Does a PWC Burn?
An average PWC can burn around 2-25 gallons of gas per hour while operating at full speed. Thus, your riding time could be as long as 4 hours, or even as low as 45 minutes depending on the model!
Beyond fuel consumption, obviously the gas tank size is the other factor that affects your riding time and fuel range heavily. The different watercraft’s gas tank sizes vary widely from 6 to up to 20 gallons, but the typical average size is around 15. Based on this:
An average PWC can run for 1–2 hours at full speed with a full tank of gas, while burning around 10-15 gallons of gas.
MPG at Best Cruise Speed
Let’s face it; nobody rides hours at full speed, as it’s pretty exhausting and it’s not the best for the engine too. Hence, most owners ride their watercraft at the best cruise speed (25-30 mph), especially on long tours. If the watercraft has a built-in speed control system, you can set this speed much easier on your craft.
So, if you would like to reach the best miles per gallon possible, you’re probably interested in the MPG numbers at the best cruising speeds.
|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|
Just for informational purposes.
As you can see, at best cruise speeds, even for the flagship models, are surprisingly fuel-efficient.
Generally speaking, the average PWC burns 3-4 gallons of gas per hour at best cruise speed, which means you can expect 4-7 hours of ride time with one full tank of gas.
How Far Can a Jet Ski Go on one Tank of Gas?
If you’re considering longer tours, you may want to know how far a jet ski can go on one tank of gas at best cruise speed.
How far can a jet ski go? In general, a jet ski can go somewhere from 75-150 miles on a tank of gas. Again, these numbers could vary widely depending on several factors like the jet ski’s performance, curb weight, fuel capacity, or the weather conditions.
Based on the chart above, maybe you’re thingking about simply dividing by two the “miles at best cruise” numbers: half a tank of gas for outward, the other half for the return distance. Never do that! As we’ve mentioned, the available miles per gallon can be different from ride to ride – even on the same day! And there could be several unforeseen situations during your rides.
Just imagine the next situation: you are going for a long trip when the water is calm and there is no wind. On the way there, you use around half of your gas. On the way back, you have to face upwind and choppy water. Will the other half of the gas in the tank be enough for the return trip? The answer is no!
Despite the same distance, your PWC will burn more fuel so you won’t be able to get back to the dock!
Beyond the changing water conditions, an error in the navigation can lead to extra miles on the water, which means extra fuel again. Another issue might be if one of your friend’s PWC needs a tow because of malfunction, and in this case, you have to count on higher fuel consumption too.
Safety Rules for PWC Fuel Range
Because of this above, always keep in mind the general rule for marine fuel calculation:
1/3 of the gas to go out
1/3 of the gas for the return
1/3 of the gas for emergencies and
As safety is always the most important on the water, always keep in this rule in mind when it comes to calculating a watercraft’s MPG, As we’ve mentioned, it’s also hard to say what the full distances are for riding on one tank of gas, as it depend on many factors.
On the other hand, you won’t go long distances every day. Are you wondering what is the safe point where you have to go back to refuel your PWC if you’re just playing around near the shore?
As a rule of thumb, the majority of PWC riders use ¾ of the gas before they’re back to the shore. It’s always wise to not dry your tank completely, even if you’re close to the dock!
FAQ About Jet Ski Range
How long will a jet ski run on a tank of gas?
An average jet ski can run around 1-2 hours on a tank of gas, if you ride it at full speed. If you ride it at best cruise speed, you can expect to ride a jet ski for 4-7 hours before you need to refill. These numbers depend on many factors like the jet ski’s curb weight, performance, the size of the gas tank, and your riding style.
How many miles per gallon does a jet ski get?
An average jet ski gets 8-10 MPG at best cruise speed, while at full speed you can expect as low as 3-5 MPG depending on the jet ski’s performance, weight, or even the weather conditions. When you plan your trip, keep in mind the 1/3-1/3 fuel management rule!
What’s the range of a jet ski?
The average range of a jet ski is somewhere 75-150 miles on one tank of gas, but it depends on many factors. These are usually the jet ski’s curb weight, performance, the size of the gas tank, and the weather conditions. You can extend a jet ski’s range with extra fuel cans stored in a rack.
How Much Fuel Does a Jet Ski Use?
An average, a jet ski uses 3-4 gallons of gas per hour at best cruise (most fuel-efficient) speed. If you ride it hard, a jet ski can use 10-25 gallons of gas every single hour! Finally, a jet ski’s fuel consumption depends on many factors like the jet ski’s weight and performance, the weather conditions, and your riding style.
Do Jet Skis Use a Lot of Gas?
Jet skis use a lot of gas compared to other powersport vehicles, which results in much worse gas mileage. The reason for a jet ski’s high fuel consumption is the drag force of the water and the jet ski’s high-performance engines, which can reach 100-310 HP!
As you already know, the Sea-Doo, WaveRunner and Jet Ski’s MPG and GPH specs depend on many factors like performance, weather conditions or even gas tank sizes.
If you’re looking for a watercraft that offers the best fuel range, it’s highly recommended to choose a non-supercharged model. To ride the longest distances on the water on one tank of gas, you’ll always have to ride at the “best cruise speed” (cca, 25-30 mph).
And finally, always keep in mind the most important 1/3-1/3 safety rules in your fuel management while you’re planning your trip.
This was our short post about the PWC’s gas mileage, but you can learn more about PWC’s fuel consumption in this more detailed post!
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