The Fuel Economy of a MerCruiser Marine Engine

Written by mike schoonveld
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The Fuel Economy of a MerCruiser Marine Engine
Many factors contribute to the fuel use requirements of a boat. (speed boat image by Wimbledon from

With the ever-increasing price of gasoline, boaters are becoming aware of the need to measure and improve the fuel economy they get when operating their boat. Just as one can do things to improve mileage in autos and other road vehicles, it's possible to improve the fuel economy of a boat with a MerCruiser or other brand of motor.

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Units of Measure

It's certainly possible to measure a boat's fuel economy in terms of miles per gallon, but under most boating situations, it's really hard to determine the distance a boat travels. Most boaters measure their fuel economy in terms of gallons of fuel consumed per hour of use.

Economy Factors

Some cars are gas-guzzlers; others can get 40 miles per gallon. A small, 3.0L MerCruiser engine may cruise using less than 4 gallons per hour while a MerCruiser 8.2L, producing more than 400 horsepower, may burn more than 14 gallons per hour. The mid-sized MerCruiser engines will fall somewhere in between these figures. In general, the larger the engine, the bigger the boat and the faster the speed you try to achieve, the more gallons-per-hour you can expect to use in your boat.

Improving Economy

You will never get your big V-8 MerCruiser to sip gasoline like a four-cylinder, 3.0L motor but regardless of the size, you can improve fuel economy. Keep your engine tuned up. Decrease the weight of the boat by leaving unnecessary items at the dock. Avoid boating in rough water conditions. Cruise at less than wide-open throttle.

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