How Much Fuel Does a Generator Use

When using a generator, there are many concerns. Among others, one of the most important is fuel consumption.

A generator is a lifesaver! From homes to campsites, it provides backup and temporary power supply! Whether it is running a portable fan to keep you cool in your tent or charging smartphones in case of a power outage, a high-quality generator is useful in more ways than one.

Whether it is running on gas or diesel, there is one common question – how much fuel does a generator use. This is important to manage the costs involved when running a generator. More importantly, it makes sure that you have enough supply depending on the anticipated runtime. Keep on reading and learn from the valuable insights we’ll be sharing in this short guide.

Consumption Depends on the Type of the Fuel

There is no easy way to answer the question regarding the fuel consumption of a generator. Truth is, it depends. There are different factors that will come into play, such as the appliances that you will be plugging in the generator. However, the biggest factor is the type of the fuel that is used. Below, we’ll talk about the most common fuel you will find and the consumption patterns in generators.

  • Gasoline Generator

Gasoline is a great choice for a generator fuel because it is easy to obtain. However, one of the most common problems with the latter is that it is highly-flammable. This means that it is unsafe to store gasoline in large amount as it can be at risk of explosion, especially without proper handling.

In a standard 5,000-watt generator, the gasoline consumption is about 18 gallons in a 24-hour operation. This shows how expensive it is to operate a gasoline-powered generator in the long-run.

On average, in a 5-kilowatt gasoline generator, you can expect the consumption to be approximately .75 gallon per hour.


How Much Fuel Does a Generator Use

  • Diesel Generator

This is a less popular option for generator fuel, but it is known for being more efficient compared to gasoline. It is also known for being more affordable and less flammable, making it a safer alternative.

On average, a 20-kilowatt diesel generator will have a fuel consumption of 1.6 gallons per hour when it is running on full load. A smaller 8-kilowatt diesel generator, on the other hand, will be using .75 gallons per hour. For a bigger 30-kilowatt generator, meanwhile, the average consumption is at 2.9 gallons per hour.

  • Propane Generator

If you are looking for an eco-friendly generator, then it is hard to go wrong with propane. It is a clean-burning fuel with a long shelf life and stored in small or large canisters that can be delivered to your home which is an easy and convenient fuel source. You do not need to fill the tank of the generator. Instead, all that you have to do is to connect the propane tank to your generator. The tank, however, can be large and heavy. Also, for whole-day use, you might need more than one propane tank.

On average, a 20-kilowatt propane generator will have a consumption of 3.44 gallons per hour. Meanwhile, a 35-kilowatt generator will use approximately 6.1 gallons per hour.

  • Natural Gas Generator

For those looking for a residential generator, natural gas is a good choice for a fuel source. Many homes already have natural gas lines, making it easily accessible. There is no need to buy fuel.

On average, a 7-kilowatt generator will consume around 118 cubic feet of fuel in one hour. If you have a big 30-kilowatt generator, on the other hand, the average fuel consumption is 416 cubic feet in an hour.

Inverter Generator Promises a Good Way to Save Money

As you can see, whether it is gasoline or propane, among others, fuel consumption contributes to the long-term cost of generator ownership. If you would like to save money while still enjoying back-up electricity, then you should consider your choice of generator. An inverter generator is the best option!

This is the smallest generator you will find, so you can enjoy utmost portability. Because it is compact, it also uses minimal fuel. Nonetheless, take note that it also means that it cannot power large appliances. It is best used for quick charging of small devices, such as phone, laptop, or emergency light, among other essentials.

How Much Fuel Does a Generator Use

Other Ways to Ensure Fuel Efficiency

Aside from using the right type of a generator, below are some of the things that you can do to minimize fuel consumption.

  • Use the right appliances. When buying appliances, your priority should be their energy efficiency. Look for products with Energy Star certification. Consider their power consumption to be sure that they won’t require a lot of fuel to run.
  • Minimize the load of the generator. If it runs at a full load, it uses more fuel to supply the necessary power. Keep the load at 50% or less to make the fuel last longer.
  • Be more intelligent regarding the use of appliances or devices. Remember, a generator is supposed to provide temporary or backup power. There are some sacrifices that you have to make, especially in the terms of appliances to use.
  • Pay attention to regular care and maintenance of the generator. Dirt and soot can compromise the performance of the generator. It might need to exert more effort to run your appliances when it is not well-maintained. More importantly, this will also increase the functional life of the generator.
  • Make sure that the generator has the proper temperature. Store in a cool and dry place. Keep it out of the sun or other heat sources. If it is too hot, this can affect the combustion of the fuel, resulting in increased consumption.


As noted above, the fuel consumption of generators varies depending on the type of fuel and the type of the generator itself. These are only estimates. We cannot give actual figures because it is dependent on many thins, such as the brand of the generator and the appliances that are running.

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