Does Tonneau Cover Improve MPG? (Claimed Proved Here)

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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?

Since tonneau covers offer multiple advantages, the expectations of pickup truck owners are increasing day by day. Likewise, they wonder, does tonneau cover improve Mpg? Luckily, still, the answer is yes!

The Tonneau cover allows you to transport cargo and other loads securely and keeps the stuff and bed from the weather. At the same time, it ensures better airflow and increases fuel economy, which is strongly related to Mpg.

We have extensively researched this topic and come up with this article to offer you a wise result. We will discuss plenty of factors and help you learn if the tonneau cover improves MPG and if it does, then how?

Does tonneau cover improve MPG?

Ultimately, tonneau covers are intended to improve MPG. Despite improving the aesthetics of the vehicle, it creates a wind barrier that prevents air from penetrating the truck bed. Thus, it reduces drag and increases MPG.

Some of the best tonneau cover that improve MPG:

Gas Savings On AverageTonneau Cover
Up to 10%TruXedo Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
Up to 12%oEdRo Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
Up to 13%Tyger Auto Truck Bed Tonneau Cover
Based On Their Claim

How does Tonneau Cover Improve Mpg?

The MPG (a car can travel a distance per gallon of fuel) usually depends on multiple factors. Among the considerations, the aerodynamic performance of the truck is crucial.

Since the drag is lessened by at least a small amount due to installing a tonneau cover, theoretically it improves Mpg.

But measuring the performance before and after installing the tonneau cover can easily help you observe the differences.

Sometimes you can find improvement after a couple of miles. However, it takes a mile or so in most scenarios. So how do tonneau covers improve Mpg? It does reduce drag. 

The Tonneau cover offers a better surface that allows the passing of airflow successively. Still, incoming air can create a small amount of drag.

So the tonneau can reduce drag completely and, therefore, aerodynamic performance remains almost the same.

Different Types of Tonneau Cover that Affect MPG

Likewise, other things, different types of tonneau cover offer different impacts on gas mileage. Some common types of tonneau cover are:

  • Roll-up tonneau cover
  • Soft tri-fold tonneau cover
  • Retractable tonneau cover
  • Hard tri-fold tonneau cover

For most vehicles, these tonneau covers are fairly consistent and offer a considerably solid surface. Thus, this helps pass the airflow in a better way.

Conversely, a soft roll-up tonneau cover can be tensioned suitably, resulting in the air flowing under the tonneau and enhancing the drag on the pickup truck.

However, you can keep the tonneau tight across the bed of the vehicle to save some cash on gas.

Some tonneau covers, like soft and hard tri-fold covers, can be partially positioned while carrying oversize stuff.

Locking this type of tonneau in a 1/3, 2/3or even keeping it fully open can increase the drag of the truck and reduce fuel efficiency.

Retractable tonneau covers are also similar in this point of view. If you partially close this tonneau to carry oversize loads, then prepare for a considerable loss in aerodynamics.

Besides, any large head units or textures in the gate of the tonneau cover are responsible for reducing the aerodynamics of the vehicle, thus reducing fuel economy and increasing drag.

Other liable factors that affect MPG

The weight and surface of the tonneau cover

Choosing the right type of tonneau cover can save some bucks at the pump. A general rule of thumb is to choose a lightweight tonneau cover. It is essential as it reduces mass and allows the vehicle to move forward with less energy.

In this way, a lightweight tonneau burns less gas. Similarly, a soft and taut tonneau cover will prize you decent gas mileage.

A smooth surface is also helpful. So pick a single segment tonneau cover with uniform textures on the top. Moreover, if you don’t want a huge metallic tonneau cover that can weigh the vehicle down, a unibody tonneau will surely help you to enjoy better airflow.

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

The condition of the vehicle

To improve the Mpg, only depending on the tonneau cover isn’t a wise decision. Check the pickup engine if it needs any kind of maintenance.

Moreover, make sure there is enough grease on the rotating parts and maintain the tire properly.

The age of the vehicle

The age of the truck also controls the improvement of the Mpg. A truck with modern technology includes some handy features that effectively reduce drag.

So using a tonneau cover in the 80s and 90s models won’t offer a pleasant result compared to modern pickup trucks.


Though the improvement in Mpg is hugely dependent on the driving conditions, you won’t get the desired Mpg on an uphill surface.

Moreover, most vehicles need extra power in colder weather. Thus, the chance of getting an improved Mpg is greater in warmer weather.

What parts of the vehicle improve gas mileage?

Check these 5 parts and replace them if needed for better gas mileage.

  • Mass airflow sensor
  • Spark plugs
  • Oxygen sensor
  • Tires
  • Air filter


How Much Gas Does A Tonneau Cover Save?

Attaching a tonneau cover on a pickup truck can reduce 5.7% of drag on average. Reducing such an amount of drag helps increase 1.8% fuel efficiency and improve the gas mileage. However, it’s not huge, but it will save a significant amount of money at the end of the year. 

Does Removing The Tailgate Increase Mpg?

Some studies prove that an open bed with the tailgate down usually captures airflow, increasing the drag, resulting in reduced fuel economy. While dropping the tailgate reduces efficiency to 21.5 mpg, an up tailgate even without a tonneau cover increases by 22.3 mpg.

Does Tonneau Cover Improve MPG?

Final words

Having a tonneau cover on the truck can be a wise decision for traveling long distances with cargo and other loads.

Despite the stuff and bed protection, if you are more curious to know whether the tonneau cover improves MPG or not, hope you have got the answer.

In fact, it is possible to save 53 gallons per year by using a tonneau cover. It will definitely support the pump at the end of the year.

So, whether it is protecting the cargo and loads with better security or increasing fuel economy and Mpg, the car owner should consider tonneau cover.

Read also: Can You Go Through A Carwash With A Tonneau Cover?

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