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How Many Miles Can a 4-Wheeler Go on a Tank of Gas?

If you’ve owned your quad for more than one season then you’ve probably already had the experience of walking the 4-wheeler back somewhere or bringing fuel back to your ATV. If you are trying to avoid that scenario then I’m sure you are wondering how far you actually can ride on a take of gas.

A 5.4 Gallon ATV tank can ride 108 miles averaging 20MPG. Factors that affect gas mileage: type and age of ATV, tank size, weight, throttle, terrain, tires, engine size, carburetor, and maintenance upkeep. To ensure you won’t run out of gas test your 4-wheeler before your trip and bring extra gas. 

  • Find your ATV’s fuel capacity in gallons, then multiply it by x 20 MPG this will give you an estimate on how far your ATV will travel. If you ride hard, multiply your gallons by a lower MPG like 16-18 MPG.

There are plenty of resources where you can easily find a car or truck’s mileage, but there is hardly any info out there for 4-wheelers which can be very agitating. We can give you a fairly close estimate, things that affect gas mileage, and a few other tips. That way, you won’t have to hike back to civilization, empty gas can in hand.

How Many Miles Can Your 4-Wheeler Go?

If it seems to you that there isn’t a lot of information about gas mileage and 4-wheelers, you are right. Trying to locate gas mileage information from dealers is just about impossible.   

For example, one website mentions that the fuel economy from all UTVs/ATVs in 2011 averages 39.47 miles per gallon. However, the same website also lists the date it was written as January 1, 1970. You decide how much you trust those numbers but it’s outdated. 

So then you can look up the specs on a specific 4-wheeler.  For example, here are just some of the specs on a 2021 Can-Am Outlander:

  • Two engine types—650 and 850, V-twin, liquid-cooled, with electronic fuel injection
  • The wheelbase is 51 inches (130 cm), and ground clearance is 11 inches (28 cm)
  • Seat height is 34.5 inches (88 cm)
  • Lighting is 230 W total, with twin 60-W projectors and 55-W reflectors
  • Fuel capacity is 5.4 gallons

Why Don’t Manufacturers Provide Miles per Gallon Information?

Manufacturers of ATVs and 4-wheelers don’t give out the same kind of information regarding gas mileage for several reasons. These are the two key ones:

  • Mileage varies too much. Although not everyone drives the same way and on the same kind of roads in cars, the differences are much smaller than with 4-wheelers. If ATV manufacturers started listing mpg, it wouldn’t be too long before customers began complaining that they weren’t getting anywhere the listed mileage.
  • They are not required to. Mileage requirements by the EPA are for on-road vehicles. Off-road recreational vehicles are not held to the same standards as automobile manufacturers. This gives ATV manufacturers the freedom to design engines for specific purposes and not worry about things like miles per gallon.

There really is only a small amount of info available—and nothing covers fuel mileage. If manufacturers don’t tell you, then the next source to turn to is people who actually own them.

What Other Users Say

To check out what 4-wheeler and ATV users reported, check out Fuelly, a site where vehicle owners report the mileage they have gotten.  

The number of people who report mileage for ATVs and 4-wheelers on Fuelly is much smaller than for cars. For example, over 1,000 people reported mpg’s on their 2012 Toyota Prius. The range there was equally broad, with a couple of cars in the 30s and a few over 60.

Users of ATV and 4-wheeler forums also report similar ranges. So if your buddies are giving you different numbers, saying it depends, or just “I don’t know,” it’s because the answer is dependent on many variables. And this is precisely why it’s hard to find an exact number because everyone drives ATV’s differently. A Utility ATV is going to be hauling more loads at slower speeds versus a Sport ATV might be ridden extremely fast and hard in racing conditions.

Factors That Affect Fuel Mileage 

Weight

It would be great if there were a formula that you could plug in and determine how much a specific weight will impact your gas mileage. The EPA estimates that for every hundred pounds of weight removed, gas mileage increases by 1 to 2 percent.  

A different study found that a 1% reduction in total weight increased fuel economy by 0.33%. Although this study was based on a vehicle weight of 3,200 pounds, it’s probably as close as you will get to a formula.

That estimate is for cars, not 4-wheelers, however. Also, the 100 pounds from a car is a larger percentage of its total weight than 100 pounds of an ATV. Still, the additional weight on your 4-wheeler is going to make its engine work harder, thus reducing fuel mileage.

When you bring back that buck you scored, your mileage coming back will be much lower, so make sure you plan accordingly.

Speed

It goes without saying that the faster you drive, the lower your fuel mileage. Again, there is no neat formula for speed versus mileage for off-road vehicles. The US Department of Energy has an excellent web page for ways to increase gas mileage—but the specifics are all about cars.  

If you want to know how much your 2012 Dodge Ram when you drive 75 miles instead of 60, check out the site. But your Polaris, Kawasaki, or Can-Am won’t be listed.  

Terrain

Terrain also dramatically impacts your gas mileage. Mileage is worse through woods and uneven terrain especially muddy trails that slow you down and in result you revving up your engine more. Same goes for climbing up a tall sand dune over and over, it’s just going to eat through the gas. 

Tires

Two factors related to tires impact your 4-wheelers mileage—tire pressure and tire size. Tires without proper air pressure force the engine to work harder, and when that happens, then mileage drops. Increased Tire size can also have a negative effect due to the added weight.                                                                                                                                                                           Colder temperatures cause tires to deflate so depending on what time of year you might add this into consideration, bring a tire gauge and a way to air those suckers up. Every little bit can help.

Other Factors

A few additional factors that affect ATV’s MPG’s include:

  • Make and age of 4-wheeler
  • Size of engine
  • Fuel-injection or carburetor
  • Regular Maintenance and upkeep

Carry Extra Fuel With You

If you haven’t bought an extra fuel container for your 4-wheeler, now is the time. These are a couple we recommend:

Here is the best ATV fuel Container:

  • EZ5 and EZ3 Utility Jugs – Three different ways to pour making it easy to adapt to your angle. You can see the liquid level at night time,  
  • The EZ Jug Floor Mount – Compatible with either the 3 or 5 Gallon EZ Utility Jugs. It’s easy to use, and allows you transport   
  • The Hose Bender – Finally a hose hooks up to the Utility jugs that locks into a bending position freeing up your hands to maneuver the jug to pour without spilling all over the place. Truly a one of a kind innovative product. US designed and made by MX enthustats! 

Other Recommendations:

  • FuelPaX by RotoPax 2.5 Gallon Fuel Container – These made-in-America fuel containers come in a variety of sizes, from 1.5 to 4.5. Containers are durable and leak-proof.
  • RotopaX Pack Mount – Another type of mount
  • GoPlus 5 Gallon Jerry Fuel Can – The metal is green and has a safety lock to prevent the can from opening accidentally and a built-in air breather for quick emptying. The 3-handle design allows two people to lift the tank, and other features include an anti-rust coating on the inside and outside.
  • The Smittybilt Jerry Gas Can Holder – This is an excellent holder for cans that do not have the RotopaX center hole mount. Designed for 5-gallon Jerry cans, the steel construction and locking strap will protect your can and secure your can. 

If You Are Still Not Sure About the Mileage

Maybe it’s time for a science experiment. Fill up your 4-wheeler and a gas can. Then run it until the tank is nearly empty and see how far you got. Make sure you know how accurate your fuel gauge is so that you do not run out completely.

Use Google Maps or another navigation system to double-check the mileage—the indicator on your vehicle might not be accurate. Then fill ‘er up again and head back. Anybody asks—tell them you were doing science.

Bottom Line

There are just too many factors at play to give an exact answer to the question of how far a 4-wheeler can go on a tank of gas. Use the 20 miles per gallon as a baseline, multiply that by the size of your tank, and carry some extra fuel with you as insurance.  

Levi Bath

I'm the co-creator of OffRoad Lifestyles. I live in Loveland, Colorado with my wife and 3 kids. My wife and I have spent a lot of time out on the sand dunes near Walden, CO and we both love offroading and camping.

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