Is boat fuel expensive? (marina vs. gas station price differences)

Fuel is vital for any vehicle to work and to finish the tasks on time. We know how much it costs to fill our cars or bikes. But what about the boats? Is boat fuel expensive? Or the price is the same as the regular fuels (gas or diesel)? Let’s see whether the boat fuel is expensive or not?

Boat fuel isn’t expensive, but the place you are filling will make a difference in price (gas station or marina). Filling the gas at the dock or marina may result in paying an extra $1 – $2 per gallon than at a gas station due to transportation charges, taxes, etc. which makes that price increase.

There is no difference between boat vs. cars, bikes, etc. (other vehicles) fuels; they are the same. So, the boat fuel prices will be the same as regular fuels (gas or diesel); you will see a difference (increase) in price per gallon if you fill your boat at the dock or the marina rather than at a gas station.

We will now see the average gasoline and diesel prices in some states and the average gasoline and diesel prices at the marina of those respective states. NOTE – These are the average prices of gasoline and diesel at the time of this post.

StateThe average price of gasoline per gallonThe average price of gasoline per gallon at the marinaThe average price of diesel per gallonThe average price of diesel per gallon at the marina
New York$2.557$3.345$2.763$2.652

On average, there is about a $1 difference (increase) in gasoline price (per gallon) at the marina compared to at a gas station. Those are just the average values; at some marinas, sometimes the gasoline exceeds $4 per gallon. So, filling the gas for a boat at the marina may sometimes result in paying $1 – $2 extra per gallon.

Diesel won’t increase much compared to gasoline. There are various reasons why fuel at a marina pump is expensive than at a gas station. Some of the reasons are transportation charges and taxes. Because bringing the fuel to a place far away till the coast or shore will definitely take some extra money and taxes, which increases the cost per gallon.

Related post – Check my article on What fuels do boats use to know all the fuel types and their benefits and drawbacks in a detailed way for smaller recreational boats.

Why is fuel expensive at the marina? (for a boat)

We will now see why fuel at the marina for a boat is expensive compared to the gas station.

Constructing and maintaining the fuel pump on a floating dock or at the marina is expensive than a gas station on solid ground. Still, it gets added up with transportation charges as well, so fuel for a boat at the marina is expensive compared to at a gas station.

Constructing a fuel pump on a dock, which is above the water (not on land), is a tough job and expensive compared to building the fuel pump at a gas station on a solid surface (ground). And keeping the fuel storage tanks near the pump like at a gas station can sometimes be dangerous too.

Any damage to that tanks or any leak can mix the fuel with the water in the marina. And any boat fire can light them up to so the fuel storage tanks need to be stored away from the marina pump. For supplying the fuel to the gas pump, pipelines are required all the way from the pump to the storage tanks.

Constructing and maintaining those pipelines is crucial down the line as time passes away for which some extra maintenance is required. If the marina is far away, then the fuel gets added up with extra transportation expenses. So, adding up all those expenses will increase the price of the fuel at the marina than at a gas station.

But that’s not the case all the time because, at some marinas, fuel is less expensive than at the gas station. After all, if the marina is close to the port or the fuel transportation distance and taxes are less, then fuel prices will be less compared to at a gas station, which is far away.

Alternative fueling options

While filling your towing vehicle at a gas station, filling the boat’s tank will reduce $1 per gallon on gasoline (on average). If you trailer the boat, the easiest and alternative option to fill the boat’s fuel tank is filling up at a local gas station rather than at the marina.

The other option is to fill the boat’s fuel tank is by bringing fuel in fuel cans. If your boat is big and challenging to trailer it, carrying fuel cans is only the best option if you didn’t want to fill it up at the marina. But there is one caveat to filling a boat’s fuel tank by bringing fuel cans in the marina.

Some marinas will not allow you to fill your boat’s fuel tank by carrying fuel cans from outside rather than using the pump at the marina, so if you are keeping the boat in such marinas, then most probably, you may end up filling the tank there, or you need to fill it somewhere outside the marina.

Mostly many people won’t be concerned about the fuel bills; otherwise, they wouldn’t have bought a boat at all. Because using a typical sized boat will take $100 – $200 per day (on average), and for a month, it can take $1000 – $2000 per month (on average), which is quite a money consuming process (expensive).

Do boats use the same fuel as cars?

Small boats use the same fuel as cars; the only difference between the boats and car’s fuel is the price. Gas at a gas station is a bit cheaper compared to the gas at the marina due to supply and demand. But the big boats (ships) use some different fuels depending on the engine design and type.

You can use the same gas you’d put in a car for a boat with a gas engine. And for a boat with a diesel engine, you can use the same diesel you’d put in a car. So, usually, boats use the same gas as cars, and the only difference is with the price and rest everything is the same.

And generally, that not the case with big ships or commercial vessels; they use other fuels such as IFO (Intermediate fuel oil), HFO (Heavy fuel oil), MGO (Marine gas oil), and MDO (Marine diesel oil). These are the heaviest commercial fuel obtained from crude oil, i.e., heavier than gasoline and naphtha.

You can save $0.2 to $0.5 (average) on one liter of gas ($0.7 – $2 per gallon) on a small boat if you fill at a gas station rather than at the marina. So, filling the gas for the boat at a gas station instead of at the marina can save some money. And only small crafts (boats) use the same fuel (gas) as land vehicles, not the big ones.

Overall, boats and cars use the same gas; a car gets filled up from the pump at a gas station, whereas a boat gets filled up from the pump at a marina; due to that, a price increase is the only difference. If you trailer the boat, then filling the tank at the gas station for your boat will save money and time as well.

Related post – Check my article on Do all boats use the same fuel as cars to know what fuel do small boats, big boats, ships, and different engines use in a detailed way.

Key takeaways

Boats use the same fuel as cars or other vehicles, so it has nothing to do specifically with the term “boat” fuel; they are the same. The price difference comes only if you fill your boat at the marina rather than at a gas station due to transportation expenses and pump maintenance on the dock or marina.

Otherwise, filling the pump at the gas station and the marina would be the same. The gas at the marina is $1 – $2 (on average per gallon) more expensive than the regular gas at a gas station. And generally, diesel won’t increase much in price compared to at the local fuel station.

So, if you are concerned about the high prices of fuel at the marina, then filling up while trailing the boat or carrying fuel cans are the best possible solutions.


My name is Mahidhar, and I am passionate about boating. Every day I learn some new things about boats and share them here on the site.

Recent Posts