How much Diesel do we have? Will we run out of fuel?

The boat is very economical and has used a lot less fuel than I thought throughout the Gap Year. However I did get fed up of doing countless calculations and worrying if we would run out of fuel or not as the boat fuel gauge is not accurate. So I came up with a solution before we got onto the Rhine.

When we bought the boat I was surprised that it has such a big diesel tank holding 800 litres of fuel. Now that we have cruised in France and Germany for five months I know why. Particularly in France, it can be very hard to find diesel for boats. You will see from the photos that we have had diesel delivered by truck, from barge bunker boats, from pumps at a filling station and once by me in cans from a filling station.

Diesel delivered by truck at Chauny- Cheapest Diesel

Diesel delivered by truck at Chauny- Cheapest Diesel

Price for fuel has varied enormously, we have paid as little as € 1.35 to as much as € 1.75 per litre. So it’s important not to run short and be forced to buy when the price is expensive like when I had to buy fuel from a bunker barge – see the photos.

adrian discusses price with bunker boat

Adrian discusses price with bunker boat man – was very expensive!

So I came up with the following solution. I knew that there was a drain valve on the bottom of the diesel tank so from my oil industry experience I knew I could make a sight glass. I went and bought a plastic hose in Bauhaus (cost €10) and fitted it to the drain value at the bottom of the tank ran the hose up the side of the tank . I measured the tank and worked out how many litres it holds at every five centimetres up the side of the tank.

sight glass on boat diesel tank- now we know how much diesel we have

Sight glass on diesel tank- so we know exactly how much diesel we have

So now by opening the value, the oil flows into the tube and shows me the exact level of fuel in the tank. So recently in Oberwinter Marina (on the Rhine) when the marina offered me fuel at €1.45 per litre, I could check how much fuel I actually had left and confidently say thanks, but no thanks!, I will make it to Luxemburg for the low duty fuel and save money.

I noticed when I was putting up the photos for this blog that I am in all of them but one. Normally Nuala is the one in the photos- Where was Nuala when the diesel had to be filled?

P.S. For those of you interested in figures. So far we have travelled 3162 kilometres and used 1570 litres of fuel. We have used an average of 3.3 litres of fuel per hour travelled and that includes crossing the English Channel,  up and down the Rhine and all the times the engine is running while we are sitting waiting on locks!

 

Adrian put in diesel at river side filling station

Adrian puts in diesel at river side filling station

Adrian puts diesel in the boat from cans

Adrian puts diesel in the boat from cans

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This entry was posted in C'est La Vie - The Boat, Experiences on the Canals, front page, On the Journey, Travel Tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How much Diesel do we have? Will we run out of fuel?

  1. noel collins says:

    Well done, nice work, i hope you attached that hose securely to the drain valve. I dont get the sq centimetre bit, do you mean the number of litre per centimetre of height.Happy cruising.
    noel.

    Like

    • agclontarf says:

      Hi Noel

      you are correct. I mean litres per centimetre. I measured the tank and worked out from known volume how much oil was in the tank every 5 centimetres up the side. Wont be exactly right but better than the guage. I will change the blog now.

      Like

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