Although each model is different, an average snowmobile uses 10-20 gallons of gas every hour and gets around 8-25 mpg. As most of them have a fuel capacity of around 9-12 gallons, a snowmobile can be expected to go as far as 70-300 miles on a tank of gas.
How much fuel does a snowmobile use? This is a typical question that many beginners ask.
Many think that the fuel consumption of a snowmobile depends solely on engine performance. But as you will see it depends on many more factors!
If you are considering buying one, or just want to learn more about snowmobile fuel economy, please continue reading.
For your convenience, we’ve collected a lot of useful information on the topic, which you can find right here!
How Much Fuel Does a Snowmobile Use?
An average snowmobile uses around 10-20 gallons of gas every hour. But keep in mind that this number may vary due to many factors like the performance and design of the sled, or your riding style. Additionally, environmental conditions and the terrain all affect fuel economy.
Are you wondering what these factors are exactly? Let’s take a closer look!
What Does a Snowmobile’s Fuel Consumption Depend on?
When it comes to a snowmobile’s fuel economy, one of the most important factors is the type and performance of its engine.
Just like on any other vehicle or vessel, 4-stroke snowmobile engines are much more fuel efficient. Moreover, they don’t continuously burn oil, which also saves on cost!
The typical premix ratio for many snowmobiles is 40:1, which means they need 1 quart (32 oz.) of oil for every ten gallons of gas. As the average gas tank range in size from 9-12 gallons, these engines burn a quart of oil with each tank of gasoline.
Considering that a quart of good-quality snowmobile oil costs around $10-$15, it’s safe to say that this can definitely increase the running costs.
It’s also good to know that fuel-injected 2-stroke snowmobiles are much more fuel-efficient compared to the carbureted models. This is because these engines are known for wasting a lot of fuel, as a portion of the fuel goes through them without even burning.
The displacement and performance of the engine are also main factors affecting every snowmobile’s fuel economy. As a rule of thumb, the higher the performance, the more gas they use.
The turbocharger can also skyrocket gas usage. Simply put, turbochargers force a lot of extra air into the engines, thus they can burn much more fuel.
The result is much better performance – but higher gas bills!
Design and Weight
The type, design, total weight, and settings of a snowmobile can also affect its fuel economy. Some models are designed for touring and these are usually lighter on gas, whereas the top performance “race-style” sleds are much thirstier.
It’s very important to never overlook regular maintenance on a snowmobile. It’s not only a big hassle if your sled breaks down out there, but improper maintenance can also lead to higher fuel consumption as well.
The octane and the quality of the gas can also be important factors. Using the wrong gas can lead to a lower fuel range, or in a worst-case scenario, it can damage the engine!
Best practice is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for fuel, which is clearly stated in every owner’s manual.
Beyond the specifications, the environmental conditions can also greatly affect a snowmobile’s fuel range. Are you wondering what these factors are?
Don’t forget that these conditions are different from one day to the next!
Rider and Riding Style
And finally, your size and weight can also play in role. The smaller you are, the less fuel the sled burns.
But beyond the above, your riding style is probably one of the main factors affecting your snowmobile’s fuel range. Riding at full speed with aggressive accelerations all significantly decrease fuel mileage.
That’s why it’s recommended that you operate your sled at a steady speed on longer tours, so you can reach the highest mpg available.
On older snowmobiles, it’s tricky as you have to play with the throttle all the time to go at a decent speed. But many new models are equipped with cruise control, which can electronically limit the speed.
These sleds usually offer “Eco,” “Sport,” and “Touring” modes, which you can easily activate by pressing a button on the handlebar.
How Many Gallons of Gas Does a Snowmobile Hold?
The size of the gas tank doesn’t affect the gas consumption, but it does play a role in gas mileage.
How many gallons of gas does a snowmobile hold? The size of the gas tank on a snowmobile is around 0.5-12 gallons depending on the model. The 120cc kid-sized snowmobiles feature a tiny, 0.5-gallon tank while the 200cc youth models have a fuel capacity of 2-3 gallons. Full-sized snowmobiles can hold around 9-12 gallons of gas.
For your convenience, we’ve compiled stats on the fuel capacity of some of the most popular snowmobile models into one chart:
Snowmobile Gas Tank Chart
|Model||Gas tank size (gal)|
|Arctic Cat ZR 120||0.5|
|Polaris Indy 120||0.5|
|Artic Cat ZR 200||2.2|
|Yamaha Apex LE||9.2|
|Ski-Doo Freeride 850 E-TEC 165||9.5|
|Ski-Doo Renegade BC 850 E-TEC||9.5|
|Ski-Doo MXZ X 850 E-TEC||9.5|
|Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX LE||10|
|Ski-Doo MXZ TNT 900 ACE||10.6|
|Polaris 144 Indy||11.5|
|Polaris 600 Indy||11.5|
|Polaris 800 PRO-RMK 155||11.5|
|Arctic Cat ZR 8000 ES 137||11.7|
|Artic Cat BLAST ZR 4000||11.7|
|Polaris 600 Rush Pro-S||12|
Based on these numbers you may be wondering how far a snowmobile can go on one tank of gas.
Let’s move on and see what the average fuel range is of a snowmobile!
How Many MPG do Snowmobiles Get?
How many miles per gallon do snowmobiles get? The average snowmobile gets around 10 to 20 miles per gallon depending on the factors mentioned above. Some fuel-injected 2-stroke and 4-stroke snowmobiles get around 15-20 mpg, or even better under ideal conditions. In contrast, the mileage of the carbureted 2-stroke models is only around 10 mpg.
Speaking of 2-stroke sleds, as a rule of thumb, the newer fuel-injected engines are around twice as fuel-efficient as the vintage carbureted power sources.
According to this test by SnowGoer on demo sleds, the average mileage fell between 10 and 17 mpg.
We’ve also compiled the typical engine types into this snowmobile MPG chart:
Snowmobile MPG Chart
|2-stroke fuel injected||13-20|
Please consider these numbers for informational purposes only. As we’ve mentioned, the fuel range depends on many factors that may be different each time you ride.
But maybe this can give you some idea of how much fuel an average sled uses!
Which Snowmobile Gets the Best Gas Mileage?
The 4-stroke, lower-performance, non-turbocharged snowmobiles get the best gas mileage. These are considered the most fuel-efficient sleds on the market. On these models, you can even reach 20-25 mpg with “average” riding. Although 2-stroke fuel-injected snowmobiles get much better gas mileage compared to the carbureted models, they also burn oil as well. Thus, they are less cost-efficient in the long run.
If you are looking for the most fuel-efficient snowmobiles on the market, best practice is to choose a 4-stroke sled with a naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged), 50-65 HP engine.
Although these models offer moderate performance, they have arguably the best gas mileage and lower running costs. If you are a beginner, these would be a good choice for you.
What is the Range of a Snowmobile?
What is the range of a snowmobile? The average snowmobile features a 9-12-gallon fuel tank and gets around 8-25 mpg. If we do the math, the range of a snowmobile will fall between 70-220 miles. On a 2-stroke sled with a 9-gallon fuel tank, it can be as low as 70-80 miles. On the other end of the spectrum, a 50 HP, 4-stroke sled can surprise you with a 300-mile range if it features a 12-gallon tank!
But when it comes to planning the total distance you can ride on a tank of gas, don’t forget that you can never accurately calculate a tank’s full capacity!
This is because at least a quarter of the fuel should be left in the tank for safety reasons.
Considering this, the real fuel range of a vintage 2-stroke sled is somewhere between 50-100 miles. On the other hand, a 4-stroke, fuel-efficient sled can take you around 100-220 miles before running out of gas.
Also, don’t forget that gas gauges are prone to be unpredictable, so you can’t really trust them!
It’s best to carefully test your sled during your first rides. Once you get familiar with the real mpg, you can plan your tours more accurately. Best practice is to set the trip distance to zero after each refueling. This way, you can calculate the fuel level in your tank based on the traveled miles.
Keeping safety in mind, if you are planning a longer trip, it’s wise to carry a caddy or a special fuel keg with extra gas.
How to Reach the Highest MPG on a Snowmobile
If you want to reach the highest available MPG on your snowmobile, just follow these simple steps:
- Try to maintain a steady speed
- Avoid aggressive accelerations
- Choose the right riding mode
- Plan your route
- Always maintain the sled properly
- Avoid modifications
- Use the recommended type of gas
Don’t forget that when you take a lot of extra gear with you, it results in a higher weight and fuel consumption. However, it’s wise to at least carry a small fuel caddy, especially if you are going on a longer trip.
Some related question to fueling a snowmobile:
Do snowmobiles take mixed gas?
Vintage 2-stroke snowmobiles with carbureted engines typically use mixed gas, while the newer models are instead oil-injected. This new technology is not just much more oil-efficient, but it means more comfort as well. Premixing the fuel for any 2-stroke engine is always a hassle!
What kind of gas does a snowmobile use?
Snowmobiles typically use 87 or 91 octane gas, and this is always indicated in the owner’s manual. To use the right fuel in your snowmobile, you may want to read the manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Using another type of fuel won’t boost the performance, but can cause many malfunctions and even damage.
There are many factors that affect a snowmobile’s fuel consumption. The 3 main factors are:
- The machine type and engine (2-stroke vs. 4-stroke, HP)
- The environmental conditions (terrain, wind, temperature, etc.)
- Your riding style
Since the latter two may vary from one day to another, the snowmobile’s mpg is also different for each ride. However, we are trying to give you some idea with some average numbers:
How much fuel does a snowmobile use? 10-20 gallons per hour.
How many gallons of gas does a snowmobile hold? Kid- and youth models: 0.2-3 gal., full-size snowmobiles: 9-12 gal.
How many mpg do snowmobiles get? 8-25 mpg, with an average of 15 mpg.
Which are the most fuel-efficient snowmobiles? 50-65 HP, 4-stroke sleds with non-turbocharged engines.
What is the range of a snowmobile? around 70-300 miles. For carbureted 2-strokes, around 70-150 miles, and for 4-strokes, around 180-300 miles.
As you can see, snowmobile fuel ranges vary widely depending on the model.
Also, don’t forget that it’s not recommended that you burn all of your fuel. Keeping safety in mind you should always leave a quarter of the gas in the tank before you refuel it. It’s not a pleasant experience to get stuck out there because of an empty fuel tank!
And finally, keep in mind that the cost of gas is just one of the many additional maintenance costs you have to calculate!