Maximizing Fuel Efficiency and Economy

Maximizing Fuel Efficiency and Economy

Tips From The Fuel Experts at Techron Marine

It’s no secret that one of the biggest expenses for boating anglers today is the cost of filling up the boat with gasoline. With fuel prices now well north of $4 per gallon in California and some other states, topping off a typical center console’s 140-gallon tank carries a stiff price tag. And if you keep your boat in the water and have to fill up at marina fuel docks, you can expect those fuel costs to be even higher.

It’s almost enough to make you reconsider the long run offshore in search of tuna and other pelagic gamefish. Still, most die-hard fishermen will just bite the bullet and open our wallets wide. Or maybe wait until you have enough fishing buddies to split the fuel bill before hitting the water.

With high fuel prices likely to be with us for some time, it makes good sense to optimize your boat’s fuel economy and maximize turns on the prop from each tankful. Here are some helpful hints from the fuel experts at Techron Marine:

  • Treat it Right. Chevron fuel scientists formulated Techron Marine Fuel Treatment for the needs of today’s boats and the rigors of the harsh marine environment.  Far more than a fuel stabilizer, Techron Marine delivers three benefits to boaters in one bottle, as it’s also best-in-class when it comes to corrosion protection and trusted cleaning power.  When used with every fill up, Techron Marine restores power and maximizes fuel efficiency by cleaning fuel injectors, throttle bodies, carburetors, intake valves and combustion chambers, preventing corrosion and removing gum, varnish and carbon deposits from the fuel system. It also keeps the entire fuel system clean, preventing gunk, corrosion and deposits in the tanks, fuel lines, filters and fuel pumps from interrupting fuel flow and compromising performance.  A fuel system kept clean with Techron Marine will also deliver quick and easy starting in any weather, smoother idling and faster response when it’s time to hit the throttle. With a range of economical bottle sizes and a treat rate of just one ounce per 10 gallons of fuel, Techron Marine is a cost-effective way to stretch the fuel range of any gasoline-powered boat. 
  • Prop Up Your Efficiency.  Having the right propeller can make a huge difference in your boat’s fuel economy and performance. Propellers transfer horsepower into forward movement of the boat.  Running the wrong prop (or one with chips, dings or bent blades) is like having flat tires on your car — it will move, but not very well.  Propellers are measured in diameter and pitch, with the latter determining how “tall” or aggressive the propeller is. For example, a propeller with a pitch size of 21 will move 21 inches forward for each rotation, while a “less aggressive” 18-pitch propeller will move three inches less. When you consider that high performance outboard engines can run at 5,500+ RPMs for sustained periods, this can make a huge difference. A propeller with too much pitch will make it hard for a boat to get “out of the hole” and accelerate from a standstill. A propeller with too little pitch might over-rev the engine and reduce top-end performance. Either one can negatively impact fuel economy.  Work with a dealer or marine mechanic you trust to find the ideal prop for your engine and the way you use your boat.
  • Find The “Sweet Spot.”  Every boat/motor combination has its own “sweet spot,” often known as the Most Economical Cruising Speed. Depending on vessel style and hull type, it may be quite a bit faster than you imagine.  Today’s modern boats/outboard engines come equipped with fuel computer systems, which allow you to track fuel consumption at various engine RPMs and boat speeds. You can compute your Most Economical Cruising Speed by looking at the Gallons Per Hour being burned and cross-referencing it with the boat’s GPS speed. For example, if you’re burning 10 gallons per hour and traveling at 20 miles per hour, you’re netting 2 miles per gallon. You might find, however, that your boat burns 13 gallons per hour at 32 miles per hour, which works out to almost 2.5 miles per gallon. At this cruising speed, you’ll get where you’re going faster while ultimately burning less fuel. It’s important to figure this out with your boat loaded the way you normally use it, which might be loaded with a full tank, gear and fishing buddies.
  • Adjust Your Attitude.  Proper adjustment of motor trim position and vessel trim tabs (to achieve a “bow up” or “bow down” attitude) can have serious impact on a boat’s ride and fuel efficiency.  What the best trim position is can change throughout the day for a variety of factors, including wind, wave size and direction, amount of fuel you’re carrying and the way your boat is loaded. The same speed and fuel computer technology that allow you to find the engine RPM “sweet spot” can also help you fine tune your boat’s ride for optimum efficiency.  It’s often possible to adjust a boat’s trim tabs and/or engine trim position and see the speed increase, without having to touch the throttle. 
  • Lose Weight.  Carrying unnecessary weight can change the way a boat rides and significantly reduces fuel economy. Consider removing things you don’t really need, like extra fishing gear you never use, boxes of lead sinkers, extra anchors and chain, old, expired fire extinguishers, and the like.  Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so it’s easy to see how draining live bait tanks and livewells when they’re not needed can really boost your fuel economy.
  • Keep Your Hull and Bottom Clean. Boats that are stored in the water for any length of time often collect marine growth. This growth increases drag through the water and reduces both performance and fuel efficiency. A fresh application of quality bottom paint can greatly slow growth of algae, barnacles, and other organisms.  Even boats with fresh bottom paint also need to have their hulls professionally cleaned regularly for optimum efficiency.  Hulls that are stored out of the water will also benefit from being kept clean and waxed.  Simply put, a smooth, clean hull will slip through the water much more efficiently than a dirty one. 

Following these steps can help boaters squeeze the most miles — and the most fishing time — from every precious gallon of gasoline. In addition to keeping your boat’s engine and fuel system running clean and lean, Techron Marine Fuel System Treatment stabilizes fuel for up to 24 months while providing best-in-class corrosion protection. To learn more about optimizing your boat’s fuel efficiency while protecting your fuel system and engine in the harshest marine environments, visit www.TechronClean.com.