How Much Gas Does a Generator Use to Power Your House?

By Alex McGill

Curious minds often wonder, How much gas does a generator use? In the realm of power generation, where every drop counts, understanding the fuel consumption of your generator is pivotal.

Picture this: a stormy night, lights flickering, and your trusty generator humming in the background. It’s not just about gallons and numbers; it’s about ensuring your backup power doesn’t leave you in the dark. Join us on a journey to demystify the gas-guzzling mysteries, empowering you to make informed decisions about your energy needs. Let’s unravel the intricacies together, putting you in the driver’s seat of your power resilience.

Main Highlights

  • Fuel consumption depends on various factors such as type of generator, kilowatts, and load.
  • Different types and wattages of generators suit different needs in terms of efficiency and cost savings.
  • Regular maintenance should be done to keep the generator running smoothly and prevent unexpected breakdowns.
  • Calculation of fuel consumption provides an estimate of how much gas a generator will use, but may vary for different manufacturers and models.

How Much Gas Does a Generator Use?

The amount of gas a generator uses depends on how long it’s running and the type of fuel being used – gasoline or propane. When using gasoline, the average 5kW generator will burn 0.75 gallons per hour if run at full capacity for 8 hours a day. This means that 6 gallons are consumed daily when running at this rate. 

Propane use is slightly different, with 0.6 gallons burned per hour when running at full capacity for 8 hours a day. This equates to 4.8 gallons consumed daily when operating at this rate for an extended period of time.

It is important to note that fuel consumption can vary depending on the size of the generator, as well as how much power is being used while in operation. A larger generator may require more fuel than what was stated above, whereas a smaller one might require less fuel overall to operate properly and efficiently. 

Additionally, if the load is reduced or increased during operation then it can impact how much fuel is consumed per hour too – reducing or increasing it accordingly based on how much energy is needed from the generator itself during its runtime cycle.

With these factors taken into consideration, it’s easy to see why calculating the exact amount of gas (or propane) a particular generator will use over time can be difficult; however, knowing the approximate usage rates provided by manufacturers should give you an idea about what kind of budget you’ll need for your particular setup in order to keep things up and running smoothly without interruption! 

How Much Gas Does a Generator Use

How to Calculate Fuel Consumption of Gas-Powered Generators?

To calculate fuel consumption, you’ll need to consider the generator’s load, which is the amount of electrical power it is providing at any given time. Fuel consumption is directly proportional to the load; as the load increases, the generator burns more fuel to meet the demand.

Next, you’ll need to know the generator’s fuel consumption rate, commonly expressed in gallons per hour (GPH) or liters per hour (LPH). This information is usually provided in the generator’s technical specifications or user manual. It indicates the amount of fuel the generator consumes per hour at a specific load.

Once you have the load and fuel consumption rate, the calculation is straightforward. Multiply the generator’s fuel consumption rate (GPH or LPH) by the number of hours the generator will be running. This will give you an estimate of the total fuel consumption for that period.

Keep in mind that fuel consumption can vary based on factors such as the generator’s age, maintenance, and operating conditions. Regularly monitoring and calculating fuel consumption allows you to plan and manage fuel resources efficiently, ensuring your generator performs reliably when needed most.

How Much Gas Does a Generator Use

How much Natural Gas does a Generator Use per Hour?

Generators play a vital role in providing backup power, especially during critical moments like outages or emergencies. One key consideration for generator efficiency is understanding how much natural gas it consumes per hour. This information becomes crucial for users to manage fuel supply and plan for extended power needs.

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The amount of natural gas consumption is influenced by the size of the generator and the power load it’s supporting. A generator’s size is measured in kilowatts (kW), and its fuel usage varies at different load levels. The data provided offers a comprehensive breakdown of natural gas consumption in cubic feet per hour (ft³/hr) for various generator sizes and load capacities.

For instance, a 100 kW generator at full load consumes approximately 1056 ft³ of natural gas per hour. This value increases or decreases based on the load percentage. It’s noteworthy that smaller generators exhibit lower consumption rates, while larger ones tend to use more natural gas.

Understanding the fuel consumption rates is essential for users to estimate the duration of generator operation based on the available natural gas supply. This knowledge empowers individuals and businesses to make informed decisions regarding generator usage, ensuring a reliable and sustainable backup power source during unforeseen circumstances.

In summary, the natural gas consumption of a generator per hour depends on factors such as its size and the load it’s supporting. This information is pivotal for users to effectively manage their fuel supply and optimize the performance of their standby generators.

The next step is understanding what external factors affect this calculation so that you can better control energy usage in different conditions.

Factors Affecting the Gas Consumption of a Generator

You may be wondering what factors can affect the fuel consumption of gas-powered generators. In terms of generator load, the heavier your load, the more fuel it will consume. 

Additionally, you should consider what type of fuel you’re using – gasoline, propane or diesel – as some require less energy to generate power than others. The efficiency and maintenance of your generator also plays a role in its fuel consumption; a well-maintained and efficient generator will use less fuel than one that is neglected or not properly looked after.

Generator Load

Understanding how much load your generator can handle is key to gauging its gas consumption. The total load of the generator should not exceed the rated wattage output of the generator, or you will risk damaging it. 

When calculating how much load your generator can bear, consider all appliances and devices that will be used in combination with the generator. This includes anything from lights to air conditioners; each device has a wattage rating that affects the total load of the generator. 

Make sure to factor in any additional electrical items that may be added after purchase as well. To ensure a longer life for your generator and minimize gas consumption, make sure you know its exact power requirements before you begin operating it. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision when choosing between gasoline, propane, or diesel fuel for powering your generator.

Choice of Fuel

Choosing between gasoline, propane, and diesel fuel for your generator can help you save money and get the most out of your machine.

Gasoline is often the cheapest choice, but it has volatile emissions which contribute to air pollution. Propane is a clean burning fuel that produces fewer emissions and is more efficient than gasoline. Diesel engines are built to last longer and have higher torque output but require special additives to run well in cold weather climates.


Comparing these three fuels side by side reveals important differences that can help inform your decision-making process. Knowing these facts puts you in a better position to decide which fuel will best meet your needs and budget constraints while providing optimal efficiency for your generator. With this knowledge, it’s easy to move on to considering other factors such as generator efficiency.

If you want to know how long can you continuously use your portable generator, you can read our guide on how long can you run a portable generator continuously. Moreover, if you wanna know about the lifespan of a generator, you can read how long does generator last here.

Generator Efficiency

Making the right choice in generator fuel can save you money, but it’s also important to understand how efficiently your generator will use that fuel. Generator efficiency is determined by how much energy is consumed versus the amount of power outputted.

Generators with higher efficiency ratings are able to produce more electricity using less fuel, so it’s important to check ratings and compare before making a purchase.

Understanding your generator’s efficiency rating can help you determine what type of fuel will work best for your needs and budget. Having an efficient generator means saving money on fuel costs in the long run. To ensure your generator continues running optimally, however, proper maintenance is key.

Generator Maintenance

Taking care of your generator is essential for ensuring it runs efficiently and cost-effectively over time. Regular maintenance should be done to keep the generator running smoothly and prevent any unexpected breakdowns. It is important to check the fuel levels, lubricate parts, and clean the air filter regularly.

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Additionally, it is important to inspect all connections on the unit for corrosion or damage. In order to ensure proper maintenance of a generator, refer to the following table:

Fuel CheckWeekly
Air Filter CleaningMonthly
Inspection of ConnectionsQuarterly or as needed

Regularly maintaining your generator will not only help you save money in the long run but also ensure that it runs optimally when you need it most.

Generator Type And Kilowatts

You have a variety of generator types to choose from depending on your needs. RV generators are great for powering up an RV, portable generators offer portability and convenience, inverter generators are the quietest type available, and home standby generators keep your home powered even during outages.

Each of these types come with various kilowatt outputs so you can find one that best suits your needs.

RV Generators

RV generators usually weigh around 60 lbs and can provide up to 2,000 watts of power, so you can easily take your home comforts on the road. A typical RV generator will use 1-2 gallons of fuel per hour when running at full load. That means if you run it for four hours a day, it will use 4-8 gallons of gas in that time.

Weight60 lbs.
Power OutputUp to 2,000 Watts
Fuel Consumption Rate1-2 Gallons/Hour at Full Load

These portable recreational generators are ideal for RVs and camping trips as they are compact and lightweight while still delivering plenty of power. Plus, with their low fuel consumption rate they make an affordable option for powering your devices while out on the road. With this in mind, switching to a portable generator is a great way to keep all your home conveniences close by no matter where you go.

Portable Generators

With a weight of 300 pounds and providing up to 7,500 watts of power, portable generators are great for households wanting reliable backup energy without the hassle. For this reason, they have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Here are some benefits of using a portable generator:

  • They can be moved around easily and require minimal maintenance.
  • They provide an affordable source of emergency electricity when needed during power outages.
  • They come in various sizes and wattage options to meet different needs. Overall, portable generators offer an effective solution for powering homes during emergencies, making them an ideal choice for many households. From here we move on to another type of generator: inverter generators.

Inverter Generators

Moving on from portable generators, inverter generators are the next step up in terms of power and portability. Inverter generators can handle much more power than their portable counterparts; they’re able to output up to 3,500 watts for a midsize model or 7,500 watts for a larger one. 

But even with all that power at your fingertips, inverter generator models are still light enough to be easily transported thanks to their wheels – some weighing as little as 150 pounds. So if you need an extra boost of electricity without having to lug around too much weight, an inverter generator is the way to go! Now let’s take a look at how home standby generators measure up.

Home Standby Generators

You’ll never again worry about losing power with a home standby generator. They provide an unbeatable amount of wattage, up to 20,000 watts or more, so you can use all your appliances and electronics without fear. Plus, they’re easy to install and maintain, making them the perfect choice for anyone who wants reliable power in their home. With a standby generator, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice!

But how much does it cost to run a generator? That’s the next step in understanding this important source of backup power.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Generator?

Running a generator can be essential during power outages or when power sources are unavailable. However, it’s crucial to understand the associated costs to make informed decisions. The cost of running a generator depends on various factors.

The fuel type is a significant factor influencing the cost. Gasoline generators typically have higher running costs compared to those powered by propane or natural gas. Gasoline prices can fluctuate, impacting the overall expense of generator operation. Diesel generators, while generally more fuel-efficient, may have higher initial fuel costs.

The generator’s fuel consumption rate is another key consideration. This is often measured in gallons or liters per hour. Smaller generators with lower power outputs tend to consume less fuel, resulting in lower operating costs. Larger generators, especially those running at full capacity, can have higher fuel consumption rates, contributing to increased costs.

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Additionally, the load on the generator influences its efficiency and, consequently, its running costs. Running a generator at maximum capacity consistently can increase fuel consumption. Efficient load management and choosing a generator size that aligns with your actual power needs can help optimize fuel usage and reduce operational expenses.

Fuel TypeGenerator Size (kW)Fuel Consumption per Hour (gallons/cubic feet)Cost per Unit of FuelEstimated Daily Cost
Gasoline50.75 (gallons)$2.89 (per gallon)$52
Diesel201.6 (gallons)$3.17 (per gallon)$122
Propane203.45 (gallons)$2.50 (per gallon)$200
22 (standby)3.6 (gallons)$2.50 (per gallon)$200
Natural Gas7118 (cubic feet)$3.25 (per thousand cubic feet)$0.82 (7 kW)
15245 (cubic feet)$3.25 (per thousand cubic feet)$1.71 (15 kW)

These estimates provide a snapshot of the fuel consumption and associated costs for running generators of different sizes and fuel types. Keep in mind that actual costs may vary based on factors such as local fuel prices and generator efficiency.

Tips for Improving Fuel Consumption of Gas-Powered Generators

Gas-powered generators are reliable sources of backup power, but optimizing their fuel consumption is crucial for efficiency and prolonged use. Here are some tips to enhance fuel efficiency:

  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure your generator undergoes routine maintenance, including air filter and oil changes. Well-maintained generators operate more efficiently, consuming less fuel.
  • Load Management: Avoid overloading the generator. Matching the load to the generator’s capacity helps maintain optimal fuel consumption. Consider using multiple smaller generators instead of one large unit for lighter loads.
  • Fuel Quality: Use high-quality fuel to prevent engine deposits and maintain proper combustion. Stale or contaminated fuel can lead to increased fuel consumption and decreased efficiency.
  • Fuel Stabilizers: Add fuel stabilizers to prevent fuel deterioration during periods of inactivity. This helps maintain fuel quality and ensures better performance when the generator is in use.
  • Proper Placement: Position the generator in a well-ventilated area to prevent overheating. Adequate airflow helps the engine run more efficiently and reduces the need for excess fuel consumption.
  • Smart Usage: Turn off the generator when not in use. Running the generator unnecessarily contributes to fuel consumption. Activate the generator only when required, and consider using alternative power sources for less critical tasks.
  • Efficient Appliances: Use energy-efficient appliances and tools whenever possible. High-efficiency devices reduce the overall load on the generator, leading to better fuel consumption.
  • Upgrade to Inverter Generators: Inverter generators adjust their speed based on the required load, resulting in improved fuel efficiency. Consider upgrading to an inverter generator for better performance and reduced fuel consumption.

By implementing these practical tips, you can optimize the fuel consumption of your gas-powered generator, ensuring a more cost-effective and sustainable power backup solution.


In conclusion, when it comes to calculating how much gas does a generator use, there are various factors that affect its consumption. It is important to consider the type of generator and its kilowatts before estimating fuel consumption. Additionally, understanding the cost of running a generator can help you make an informed decision on which model best fits your needs.

With proper care and maintenance, you can reduce the amount of gas used by your generator and save money in the long run. So if you’re looking for an efficient way to power your home or business, gas-powered generators could be the right choice for you.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What type of fuel is best for a generator?

The best type of fuel for a generator depends on its use. Generally, diesel or propane are good options as they offer reliable performance and long-term cost savings. Consider your needs and choose the right option for you.

What is the most efficient way to run a generator?

To maximize efficiency, use the type of fuel recommended for your generator and follow its maintenance guidelines. Check how long it runs before refueling to ensure optimal performance.

How do I know when it’s time to refill a generator?

You’ll know it’s time to refill the generator when you start hearing loud noises coming from the engine, or if its fuel gauge reads empty. Don’t wait too long, as running out of fuel can cause damage.

What safety precautions should I take when using a generator?

When using a generator, always keep it in a well-ventilated area. Don’t overload it and make sure you’re refueling with approved fuel. Disconnect from the power grid when refueling and always wear protective gear. Read the user manual before operating and regularly check connections.

How often should I maintain my generator?

You should maintain your generator regularly. Inspect it every month, check the oil levels and spark plugs, and clean the air filter at least once a year. Doing this will keep it running smoothly and safely.

How long will 5 gallons of gas last in a generator?

A 5500-watt generator, with a 10 HP engine, consumes approximately 0.83 gallons of fuel per hour at full load. So, with 5 gallons of gas, the generator will run for about 6 hours.

How much gasoline does a generator use per hour?

A typical gasoline generator, commonly used for whole-home power, utilizes about three-quarters of a gallon per hour. It’s important to note that fuel costs can fluctuate, making it challenging to predict expenses in advance.

Does a generator use a lot of gas?

Gas generators, operating at around 0.75 gallons per hour when supplying power to a home, offer a cost-effective option. Despite having a better price point compared to other generators, it’s essential to be aware that gas generators require a substantial amount of fuel.

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