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Old 09-11-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
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Boat vs vehicle fuel burn comparisons

How does your gallons per hour fuel use compare between your boat and your vehicle?

I ask this because there seems to be a misguided tendency to fixate on a boats fuel use while ignoring how much our vehicles swill back.

We have been using our 30' Sundowner Tug since March this year, have fuelled up a couple times, but haven't crunched the numbers yet...it's not that important to us as we feel it's the price of admission to the show...but it's probably a wee bit above 1.5 gallons per hour.

We drive a Honda Element, which gets 37 km per gallon on the highway at 100 km per hour. That's a fuel burn rate of about 2.7 gallons per hour.

So, in comparison, our boat does pretty good, right?

How 'bout you?
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:02 AM   #2
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I look at it differently. To travel 100 miles, my boat will use up approximately 60 gallons of fuel yet my car only 5 gallons.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:07 AM   #3
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My VW Golf burns more fuel per hour than my 8 ton Willard and it gets 37mpg.

My 67 Cadilac of ten years ago burned 6gph .. six times as much as the Willard.

With boats it's always GPH and w cars always MPG.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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This is the philosophy I have to use when addressing the fuel consumption of any vehicle. The way I look at it is "FPH" (fun per hour). My Krogen Manatee used about the same amount of fuel to drop-off my Admiral at her downtown Miami office than delivering her with her Hummer did (yes, she has a Hummer). The Hummer took about 45 minutes to do that and our Manatee took about two hours. Factoring in the fun ratio for driving in traffic vs. piloting the boat.....well, I don't have to tell you that the FPH total isn't comparable. Basically, it's a choice of spending 10 bucks for fun or 10 bucks for traffic stress.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
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I liveaboard and cruise over 3000 miles a year....so NMPG is important to me as it is way more then the fuel I burn in my truck.

I know I can't alter the equation as much as I would like to...but I can reasonably keep my boat fuel bill to 1/2 - 2/3 as much if I didn't care....thus saving at least $1000 and more closely to $2000 each year. the saving will only go up as I expect to cruise more and the price of fuel to rise.

I know it's no big deal to some...I'm just answering the question for me....so the age old...I"t's only a small part of my boating budget" doesn't apply to me.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:32 PM   #6
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My car burns about 2.75 GPH at 75 MPH. My boat burns about 2.75 GPH at 7.5 Kts.

My car gets 27 MPG and my boat gets 2.7 NMPG.

My car weighs 2 tons, my boat weighs 9 tons.

I have a lot more fun with my boat, even when the engines are shut down, than I can ever have with my car.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:27 PM   #7
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Fly,
A 4000lb car getting 27mpg is very good.

What kind of car is that?

I'm sure my 03 Camry gets over 27mpg but I'm sure it's not 4000lbs and dosn't ride like a 4000lb car either. I think the variable valve timing helps a lot. My Golf gets 37 mpg but it's much lower geared and lighter than the Toy and lacks the VVT.

I rarely go 75mph ... Closer to 60. Another reason I think gas is too cheap is that everyone knows 60mph gets considerably better mileage than 80. But on the freeway they go 80 much more often than 60. Go figure.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:59 PM   #8
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It's a 2002 Lexus ES300 V6 - much like the Camry but with electronic adjustable suspension. Its curb weight is around 3500 and its gross weight almost 4500 lbs. If I could keep my foot out of it and hold it down to 60 mph, I'd get just over 30 mpg (or 2GPH).
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:19 PM   #9
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Greetings,
From what little I remember from my 1950 Chris Craft literature, a boat engine "works" about 90% of the time whereas a car engine "works" about 30% of the time (the rest of the time it's coasting). So to compare mileage/weight etc. is somewhat nonsensical to say the least.
What's the point? I think Mr. MM hit upon the point in post #1: "a misguided tendency to fixate on a boats fuel use". I think a contributing factor for this "fixation" is the sheer size of a boat's fuel tanks. I would say a large number of member's boats hold in the neighborhood of 250 gal. to 500 gal. and when you fill up the $$ could potentially run to $2K. A heck of a lot when you're sitting at the service station putting in $37.56 to your Yugo for a fill up. So it's not really how much you use in a boat over days/weeks/months but how much you put in at one time.
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Old 09-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Boat versus car is a not a good comparison. Perhaps a car versus a dinghy and then a forty foot RV versus a trawler. Still because the boat must move water whereas an RV has a prepared surface (road) perhaps it should be an RV versus and ice boat.

When I think of where I go with my car versus the boat there is no comparison or issue of cost, lets see now, Walmart versus Martinique, Home Depot versus Bra d'Or. Oh yes there is always the drycleaners.

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Old 09-11-2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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Greetings,
Maybe THIS would give a fair land/water mpg/gph comparison...
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:57 PM   #12
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After purchasing the Coot, my sister Cynthia asked if she could fill the boat's fuel tanks for my birthday. Told her she should take that offer back as that would be $1200, nearly eighteen months' boating. She quickly retreated!

Instead, she shined the railings:

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Old 09-11-2013, 09:47 PM   #13
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Just crunched our numbers from the last fill up and hours on engine and it comes in at 1.2 gallons per hour. That's at 8 point something knots over ground with the current, 6 point something against, and 2700 RPM on the 100hp Yanmar.

My first stab at how much fuel the Honda Element uses was way off...it takes 45 minutes to go 32 miles to the next town down the road, so it's actually pretty close to 1.1 gallons per hour.

Our boat is perfect for us; not too big, not too small, it's juuuuuust right
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
Our boat is perfect for us; not too big, not too small, it's juuuuuust right
That's my wish too, for all of us.
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:34 AM   #15
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Our bus conversions compare with most modest cruisers.

The 50 Uniflite tales under 3 gph at 7-7 1/2 K

The 35 ft GM 4106 6 - 7 GPH at 70 mph. 8V 71 4 speed stick

The Flxible VL 100 requires 6 gph at 75 , in the civilized states that allow modest speeds.

Works for us! DD series 50 4 cyl with auto /OD tranny.
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:11 AM   #16
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Man's greatest ability is his ability to rationalize.
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
Our bus conversions compare with most modest cruisers.

The 50 Uniflite tales under 3 gph at 7-7 1/2 K

The 35 ft GM 4106 6 - 7 GPH at 70 mph. 8V 71 4 speed stick

The Flxible VL 100 requires 6 gph at 75 , in the civilized states that allow modest speeds.

Works for us! DD series 50 4 cyl with auto /OD tranny.
Now I know why they're called 'land yachts'

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Originally Posted by hmason View Post
Man's greatest ability is his ability to rationalize.
Great one, and evidenced by the simple fact that we have recreational use boats in the first place!
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
Man's greatest ability is his ability to rationalize.
Or not...
When we had the SeaRay it used 22 ghp @ 18kts about .80mpg..

Our motorhome with our comp ski boat in tow was 6mpg @ 60 mph..

I tried to think of the motorhome as the " economy " choice..

Never could rationalize that... sold both.. back to a single diesel trawler..

but it is way overpowered @ 40'/ 270hp.. we cruise it @1600rpm @ 8.3kts

Now I am happy.
HOLLYWOOD

Oh I forgot about our cars... 18mpg tacoma, 53mpg 160hp tdi golf,
VW Passat 4motoion 25mpg. The Golf is the King of mileage

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Old 09-13-2013, 11:54 AM   #19
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Hollywood you just like engines and power.

I can only imagine the sensation of power you feel in/on your roadster.

Dated a girl that was absolutely hooked on snowmobiles. Found out she loved the experience of power when she pulled the throttle cable. Took off like a dragster and she just loved it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:47 PM   #20
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Hollywood you just like engines and power.
I am a total power junkie.. some friends never understood how I could have gone from drag boats in the 80's to sailing a 35' boat at 6kts ( on a good day) across the pacific!in the 90's.

I still ride my desert dirt bike and manage to hit the rev limiter in top gear...every now and then.

But somehow trawlers,voyaging and deliveries are the thing that do it for me.. go figure.

Power junkie... yep.. boataholic.. absolutely!

I know it's crazy.. between the barn and the garage at last count 37 cylinders... plus 10 on the boat.. way too many oil changes

have a great weekend
HOLLYWOOD
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