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Five Tools to Save Fuel

Electronics that can help you lower your fuel costs.

December 18, 2012
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Soaring fuel costs have certainly been an unwelcome intrusion on our favorite sport. Electronics may hold some relief to those high prices at the fuel dock.

FloScan has been the granddaddy of marine-fuel monitoring equipment innovators for more than 40 years (floscan.com). It produces a wide range of fuel-economizing products for gas and diesel marine engines. Most all of its instruments are housed in a 33⁄8 -inch round display — the same size used for most dash instruments. The basic CruiseMaster 5500 fuel meter is an effective way to record fuel consumed and find your most efficient speed. The model 7000 adds a fuel-flow meter and fuel totalizer along with a tachometer and engine hour meter. There are about a dozen single- and dual-engine models priced from $500 to $1,000 plus, not including sensors.

Garmin GMI 10 color data display ($499), with a 31⁄2 -inch screen, supports most any digital or graphic info it receives via NMEA 2000 connection to other instruments and sensors on the boat (garmin​.com). Connect to its GFS 10 fuel sensor ($199) and you’ll have an economy and gallons-per-hour fuel monitor.

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Lowrance may have the most affordable fuel-saving aids with its LMF-400 ($200) and LMF-200 mini multifunction meters (lowrance.com). When connected to Lowrance’s EP-60R gas engine fuel sensor ($100), you have fuel flow, consumption, trip fuel used and seasonal fuel information at the touch of a fingertip.

Maretron has been a pioneer in developing NMEA 2000 devices (maretron.com). Its FFM100 module ($395), combined with an appropriate fuel sensor, delivers detailed fuel-management information to any NMEA 2000 standard display or Maretron’s own DSM250 5.7-inch color high-bright display ($1,100).

Mercury Marine offers the SmartCraft VesselView integrated control center (under $1,500, mercurymarine.com). It displays approximately 50 functions, including fuel level, fuel used, fuel range, low fuel and fuel to a waypoint. The MercMonitor ($1,049) packs similar data in a single standard-size instrument gauge.

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Fuel cost shaving add-ons are becoming popular on many current GPS/chart plotters. Garmin, Lowrance, Raymarine (raymarine.com) and Simrad (simrad-yachting.com) have the ability to display fuel-saving data like gallons per hour, total fuel remaining and engine synchronizer in digital or analog graphic form. This information can help you find that sweet spot. Optional fuel sensors are required.

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