Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas Mythbusters

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

A Tonneau cover does a lot of things in a pickup truck. So its participation in gas mileage is also a popular topic among truck owners, which forces Mythbuster to figure out the actual result.

So do tonneau covers save gas for MythBusters? We will deliver the answer in the way they did, along with the process they followed.

Despite this, we will discuss other relevant topics related to improving gas mileage and fuel economy.

Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas Mythbusters

Do tonneau covers save gas Mythbusters

According to the Mythbusters’ recent test, tonneau covers save gas. But it isn’t a large amount. At the end of the year, it may save some bucks at the pump.

Before we drive in the Mythbusters study keep in mind that there are several tonneau covers that can improve gas mileage. Tyger claimed several times that their Tonneau Covers (check them on Amazon) improve up to 13% gas mileage. Also TruXedo Truck Bed Tonneau Cover claimed 10% gas savings.

The “MythBusters” Study

Did you watch the episode of “MythBusters” where the mad scientists put the question to the experiment about whether tonneau covers save gas?

In episode 64, the lead hosts, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage make some modifications to a truck and test a few factors to check the vehicle’s fuel economy status. They were tested with 

  • Tailgate down.
  • Mesh tailgate.
  • No tailgate.
  • Hard tonneau cover.

The result they got was pretty similar to a 2011 study from the Department of Energy. The department found driving with a tonneau cover improved 3.6% fuel efficiency.

It means a pickup owner can expect about 15% more gas mileage using a tonneau cover compared to without using it.

So if you want to find yourself filling up while driving, installing a tonneau cover will reward you. Following the Mythbusters, the gas savings from a tonneau cover are not in controversy.

More importantly, they found that only the mesh tailgate visibly improved the car’s MPG.

And other modifications didn’t make a difference. So if you want to go with Jamie and Adam’s viewpoint, you shouldn’t invest in a tonneau cover only to save on gas.

Calculate: Tonneau Cover Gas Savings Calculator

In 2001, it was the 2nd time MythBusters had discussed this subject. Since the controversy surrounding the Myth, you can expect another episode on this topic!

Can I take my bed cover off?

It can bring multiple results. Doing so will increase the wind drag and your vehicle will need to work against it, resulting in burning fuel.

Besides, it will cause an issue like truck beds and cargo can be filled with dust and other flying debris. The harsh assault of UV rays also brings diverse consequences.

Lastly, an open truck bed cover will encourage strangers to peek into the cargo and it will increase the risk of cargo being stolen. Basically, taking off the bed cover will reduce the security for which you invest in it.

Why Does My Truck Get Bad Gas Mileage?

The truck can get bad gas mileage due to the lack of maintenance regularly. Lowering the truck’s weight load can help improve the vehicle’s gas mileage.

You should also keep the tires inflated at all times. Lastly, don’t frequently open the windows and turn on the AC. 

How to improve fuel economy?

Reducing Wind Drag

Covering the truck bed with a tonneau cover reduces the amount of air trapped in the tub of the truck. Usually, it reduces the pressure that the engine has to generate and it turns into fuel economy.

Putting the Tailgate Down

Putting the tailgate down effectively increases the airflow across the truck. In this way, it inadvertently increases the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

An increase in aerodynamics practically increases fuel economy since engines burn less fuel. So the bottom line is, putting the tailgate down effectively increases fuel economy and saves gas.

Driving With Mesh Tailgate

This is another helpful way to improve the truck’s MPG. Driving with a mesh tailgate helps cover more distance for each gallon of fuel compared to driving without it. 

Other Ways to Improve Fuel Economy

Maintaining the vehicle properly and regularly helps keep the engine parts and fuel delivery system top-notch. Similarly, don’t overwork the engine by carrying cargo and other loads as it consumes fuel badly.

Overusing accessories is also responsible for poor fuel economy. For example, using an air heater and AC extensively affects fuel economy.

Other gadgets like interior lights, radios, and headlights have a deep effect on fuel consumption. To improve fuel economy, control using these accessories and maintain the vehicle regularly.

How to make a truck more fuel-efficient?

Following these tips can help you maximize fuel efficiency:

  • Promote to a high-flow exhaust system
  • Check tire pressure regularly
  • Overcompensate for oil changes
  • Add helper springs
  • Monitoring spark plugs
  • Firm up the shifts


Does Tonneau Cover Improve Mpg Mythbusters?

Following the test by Mythbusters, using a tonneau cover improved trucks’ gas mileage by 5%. However, it only happened with the mesh tailgate. 

Does Truck Cap Improve Gas Mileage?

The Tonneau cover and cap aren’t essential to improving trucks’ gas mileage. The primary intention of manufacturing a tonneau cover is to protect the car’s load and bed from weather and thieves. 

Final words

Gas mileage and fuel economy are related to plenty of parts and factors of the vehicle. It’s not all about using a tonneau cover and saving fuel economy isn’t the intention of designing a tonneau cover.

However, according to the Mythbusters test, it plays a responsive role in gas mileage. So do tonneau covers save gas Mythbusters?

Yes! But the amount of gas it saves isn’t as impressive to force you to invest in it. The impressive job it does is save the cargo and bed from weather and theft and allow them to be carried conveniently.

Read also: How To Keep Dust Out Of Tonneau Cover?

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