The 3 most common questions I would get about jet skis is how far, how much and how fast.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to a jet skis MPG, or GPH, and I want to talk about it and give you a better understanding of how far your jet ski will go on one tank of gas.
How Far – One Tank Of Gas
On average, a jet ski will go about 60 to 120 miles on one tank of gas. Another way to look at it is the average jet ski will go about 2 hours on a tank of gas when going full throttle all the time.
What jet ski you have, the engine size, supercharger, weight, and riding conditions all affect the range a jet ski can travel.
Some jet skis are more fuel efficient than others, but they also are not the best for long-distance travel. The larger the jet ski, the better it will be for longer distance, but it’s not always the most fuel efficient.
While a jet ski can go 60 to 120 miles on a tank of gas, most jet ski owners get a weekend out of their watercraft. The average rider doesn’t ride non-stop, they take breaks and only ride on the best days. It’s because of this that it’s hard to give exact numbers, as everyone will be different in how they ride and how often they ride.
What Affect Gas Mileage On A Jet Ski?
There are a few things that affect how far a jet ski can go on a tank of gas. Here is a short, but most common items that affect a jet skis range.
- Engine – The bigger the engine, the more fuel it will use. It’s one of the reasons why 3-cylinders are becoming more popular for jet skis.
- Superchargers – The supercharged jet skis will use more fuel than non-supercharged models. It’s not always as bad, but when you start to get into higher RPM ranges, they guzzle fuel a lot more because the engine is working a lot more.
- Weight – The heavier the jet ski and the more things you carry (along with your weight) the more the jet ski has to work and thus use more fuel.
- Driving Modes – A lot of PWCs you get today have different driving modes that help with fuel consumption. One mode from Sea-Doo is the ECO Mode, which limits take off and top speed to give you better gas mileage.
- Water Conditions – The more rough the water, the more gas you’ll burn. The condition of the water will also affect the distance traveled, it’s harder to push through murky water than clear water.
- Time of Day – Not something people think about, but your engine burns more efficiently the cooler it stays, so riding when it’s hot will affect distance. This could cause some debate over closed vs open loop cooling, but it shouldn’t be that huge of a difference.
- Gasoline – The type of gas you use in your jet ski will affect its performance. If you have a supercharged jet ski, you should run premium gas. Also, for all jet skis, the more you can stay away from ethanol, the better gas mileage you’ll get out of your jet ski.
- Elevation – The higher you ride in elevation, the less oxygen your jet ski has to use for combustion. Fuel injected jet skis will adjust, but you will burn more gas the higher up you are in elevation.
MPG VS GPH
It’s more common for boats and jet skis to go by gallons per hour (GPH) instead of miles per gallon (MPG) like you see with cars.
The GPH does change depending on how fast you go on your jet ski. When going wide open throttle (WOT) you will use a lot more gas than at cruising speed, that is why GPH values are given at different speeds.
Even with these options, the GPH can vary greatly, as covered in the last section. Use GPH or MPG as a guide and not a definite number to expect, more of a starting point to compare other jet skis to each other.
How To Get Better MPG
If gas prices are high, or you want to get the most out of your watercraft, there are a few things you can do to maximize your MPG.
- Remove any extra weight – the less weight you carry, the more miles you can go.
- Don’t buy gas on the water – The gasoline you buy at the marinas or boat docks will always cost more due to the convenience and how they store it. Try to get gas at local gas stations if cost is an issue.
- Avoid gas with Ethanol – There is less energy in gasoline with ethanol in it, so you don’t go as far as on a tank of gas. You can add marine fuel stabilizer to help with the ethanol problem, but it’s better to avoid if you can.
- Use slow driving modes – Some jet skis have an ECO Mode, which gives you better gas mileage. If your jet ski doesn’t have an ECO Mode, then see if it has a learning mode, touring, default, or some mode that limits take-off power. Some jet skis have a learning key which limits take-off and top speed.
- Avoid choppy and murky water – The more choppy and dirty the water, the more your jet ski has to work.
- Use cruise control – It’s best to stay at one speed, so cruise control or the speed limiter can help with this to get you better MPG.
How Large Are Fuel Tanks On Jet Skis?
A jet ski can have a fuel tank size from 5 gallons up to 21 gallons.
The most common fuel tank size is 18 gallons.
The average jet ski uses about 10 gallons of gas at wide open throttle (WOT), which means the average jet ski can go about 1.8 hours at full throttle.
If fuel cost $4 a gallon, that would be $72 to fill up an empty 18 gallon gas tank for an average jet ski.
The average jet ski owner puts about 30 hours a year on their jet ski, so that means fuel cost will about $1,200 a year.
Most Fuel-Efficient Watercraft
The most fuel efficient jet skis will be the ones with the smaller engines, like the Sea-Doo Spark and Yamaha EX.
The 60HP Sea-Doo Spark base model will do about 2.4 GPH at cruising speeds. You can expect closer to 6 GPH on the bigger engine Spark and Yamaha EX at wide open throttle (WOT).
The worst MPG jet skis are the high horsepower ones, 250 HP or greater, as you can expect 22 GPH or more at WOT.
Do Jet Skis Use A Lot Of Gas
The honest truth about jet drive engines is that they do use more fuel than other boats, jet skis included.
Really, any boat uses a lot of gas, it’s the nature of the beast, especially if you want to go over 20 MPH.
As covered in the last section, the average jet ski owner pays about $1,200 a year on fuel. I know a few people who only take the watercraft out twice a year, so it’s much cheaper for them, and a few who are the opposite.
There are other factors to consider when it comes to jet ski ownership and the costs that come with them that I cover here.
When You First Get It
When you first get your jet ski, you will find that you’ll use more gas often. When something is new, you’ll play with it more. This is just the nature of getting something cool like a jet ski.
Also, you’ll be getting the worst gas mileage from your new jet ski when the engine has not been broken in yet. This goes for just about anything with an engine. So prepare to use a slight bit more gas in the first 10 hours. When I say a slight bit, the average person might not notice it.
While you should not carry extra gas inside your jet ski, many models today have add-ons that allow you to carry gas on the rear of your watercraft.
Sea-Doo makes a LINQ Fuel Caddy Kit 4 Gal* that installs super easy on any model with the LinQ system.
Many of the fishing rod and coolers attachments have the gas can mount systems on them, so you can carry extra gas on your jet ski. The Brocraft Jet Ski Aluminum Fishing Rod Rack & Cooler Holder Combo with Gas Plates/PWC Rod Holder is a great example here*.
Before You Get One
Before you get a jet ski, you need to make sure you have the correct gear. I have gathered some of the must-have accessories for jet ski riders here.
Also, it’s important that you wear the correct clothing, too. Here is my guide on what to wear on your watercraft.