Close this search box.


Home ➜ Community ➜ Blog

Which Fuel Should You Use in Your Boat?

Who says summer is over? There’s still plenty of adventuring left to do, especially out on the water! Grab your sunscreen, a drink, and a few of your favorite snacks and head on over to your boat for some maritime merriment! If you find that you need to fuel up your boat first, though, you’ll definitely want to do that before embarking on your latest quest for fun. The question is, which fuel should you choose? If you’re a first-time boat owner, this can be tough to answer. Make your journey easier by reading all about which fuel to use here!

Personal Boats

Most likely if you’re reading this blog, you have a smaller boat that you enjoy taking out onto your local lake. If this is the case, good news! You can fuel it up similarly to your car! Personal boats can use the same type of gasoline as your vehicle, including unleaded (87 octane), mid-grade (octane 89), premium (octane 93), and diesel. Keep in mind that sometimes these fuels are created specifically for use in your boat, so you may want to double-check the gasoline before using fuel you’d normally put in your car. Specifically, you’ll want to ensure the gasoline has no ethanol – we’ll discuss that later on!

Commercial Boats

Larger boats typically require more specific fuel types and have a completely different classification than personal boats. Commercial boats will use one of two major types of fuel: marine gas oil (MGO) and marine diesel oil (MDO), both of which aren’t usually found at your local marina. MGO is a blend of light cycle gas oil and aromatics, and it may contain waste products like used motor oil. Conversely, MDO is a diesel-type fuel that contains heavy fuel oil. It’s in an entirely different diesel class, so don’t try using this to fuel up your truck!

A Word about Ethanol

There’s quite a lot of confusion when it comes to ethanol and fueling your boat. You may be tempted to opt for ethanol because it tends to be cheaper; however, it’s best to avoid ethanol altogether if you can. In time ethanol can cause a host of problems like phase separation, moisture, and the formation of carbon deposits, which can seriously harm your boat’s engine.

If you really must use ethanol-based gasoline, opt for E10. When in doubt, check the pump at the marina refueling station first to ensure that you’re using ethanol-free gasoline, especially since Missouri is not required to label if gasoline contains ethanol or not. Many marinas display stickers from the Missouri Department of Agriculture that say “No Ethanol,” so you can rest easily when you spot one of those!

Trust HSO

Fueling your boat might not be as simple as you think – after all, you must understand your engine and what it needs. Guess what is easy? Ordering fuel from the experts at Home Service Oil. No matter your needs, you can depend on us to deliver fuel to you when you need it. Learn more by calling 1-800-467-5044!




6910 Front Street. Barnhart, Missouri 63012

Phone number


Mailing Address

PO Box 9 Barnhart, Missouri 63012