How Much Does A Tonneau Cover Improve Gas Mileage?

How Much Does A Tonneau Cover Improve Gas Mileage? As we consider a “tonneau cover,” we usually imagine an auto bed cover like the ones found on vehicles. However, tonneau covers need to be designed to shield your car from debris and dirt. Can tonneau cover save gas? They’re specifically made to increase the efficiency of your fuel.

As we move into the summer season, we’re looking to make sure that we’re accountable regarding the gas mileage of our cars. So what better way to boost the efficiency of our vehicle than installing the tonneau cover? But how much will the covering increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency?

We’ll review everything from briefly explaining tonneau covers, how much they could help you save money, and how they impact your car’s fuel consumption.

How do Tonneau Covers Improve Gas Mileage?

The following are ways tonneau covers can increase the efficiency of your gas:

Reducing Drag

One of the primary ways a tonneau cover can aid in maximizing fuel efficiency is by cutting down on drag. For example, if you’ve got an open bed in your truck, the air will flow throughout and around the vehicle, which causes friction and drag.

This can lead your vehicle to consume more fuel because it needs more effort to beat it. However, if you have a tonneau cover that helps lessen draw by creating a wall between the open bed of your truck and the outside air. In this way, your vehicle isn’t working as hard, leading to better fuel efficiency.

Decreases Weight

Another way that covers tonneau can improve gas mileage is to reduce weight. For example, if there is an unprotected bed for your truck, the wind will pick up any loose items in your bed and start moving them toward the car.

It can increase the weight and resistance, resulting in your vehicle burning more fuel. On the other hand, if you’ve got a cover for your tonneau, it can help keep all the loose items on the floor from being taken by the wind and dragged down the road.

The gas mileage will improve because your car won’t need as much effort to take on the additional weight.

Improving Aerodynamics

Another method to assist in improving fuel efficiency is through improving aerodynamics. For example, if the bed is open for your truck, the air flows across and around your vehicle, which causes friction and drag.

A tonneau cover creates an air barrier between the truck bed and the outside air. So, your vehicle won’t be forced to perform as hard, which results in higher gas efficiency.

What is the best way to increase with the help of a Tonneau Cover?

It’s hard to determine how much a tonneau cover could boost your gas mileage as numerous variables are at play.

The type of cover you are using and your make as well as model car, and your driving habits impact how you save on fuel. There are estimates that you could save anywhere from 2 and 5% off the gas you use with a tonneau cover.

That means if you consume $100 in gas over a month, you will save between $2 to $5 per month using the cover for your tonneau. So in a year, this is a savings of anywhere from $60 to $100.

The amount which covers tonneaus can increase your vehicle’s gas mileage will depend on several aspects. The following are some of them below:

Type Of Truck:

The type of vehicle you own can play a significant role in how you can improve the amount you get in your fuel mileage. For example, if you’re using smaller trucks, you will likely experience more improvement than an older truck. It is because the smaller truck has less wind resistance to contend with.

Design Of The Tonneau Cover:

The style of the tonneau cover can play an essential role in how the cover improves your fuel efficiency. For example, if the cover is made to be a snug fit on the side of your bed, it’ll produce less drag than one that doesn’t fit.

Size Of The Truck Bed:

The dimensions of your truck bed can also play an essential role in how much improvement you can see in your fuel efficiency. For example, a smaller bed will cause less drag since the wind has less space to snag.

How You Drive:

Your driving style will impact how you see the improvement you notice in the gas mileage. For example, if you’re prone to driving swiftly, you’ll benefit more when you drive slower. It is because the more quickly you travel, the more excellent wind resistance you’ll need to overcome.

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Logically, it is true that covering the pickup’s bed would decrease drag. However, they believe that the wide cargo area and the tailgate trap airflow and cause increased drag at high speeds. Therefore, making the truck more aerodynamic and with less drag could result in better gas mileage. A higher MPG could mean money that is saved on the gas pump.

There’s no reason to be interested in whether or not tonneau covers can improve gas mileage.

Various methods exist to tackle the issue, and numerous research studies have been conducted to develop the right solution. The subject was even covered on the popular television series ” MythBusters.”

There’s also a variety of opinions floating around. Some are based on scientific research, but others do not. We’ll adhere to facts and guide you to determine that your tonneau cover will save gas.

The Wind Tunnel Study

In 2007 The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) conducted some of the most thorough research on this issue. The SEMA team tested four vehicles of various makes and 13 different covers for tonneau. The test vehicles were:

The 13-tonneau covers comprised the various materials used in hard and soft covers. Various designs included roll-up foldable, retractable, folding, and hinged. Unfortunately, they chose not to divulge the information on any particular brands of tonneaus they had used.

They tried the trucks out in a wind tunnel that was full size. They then took their test on the AeroDyn Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina, which NASCAR uses frequently. The tunnel allowed them to experiment with how their trucks ran with and without the tonneau covers.

The goal was to determine whether the covers on the tonneau reduce drag.

The wind tunnel study found that each truck was a lower drag when using the tonneau. The results were small, but they were quantifiable. On average, using a cover for the tonneau led to a 5.7 percent decrease in drag. This reduced drag translates to a 1.8 percent increase in fuel efficiency.

Although 1.8 percent more fuel efficiency isn’t tremendous, it can make a difference over a year of filling up your vehicle. So what’s the verdict from this Wind Tunnel Study? First, the use of a tonneau cover may provide a slight improvement in the savings you make on gas.


The “MythBusters” Study

Have you seen this episode from “MythBusters,” where TV’s favorite mad scientists investigate whether tonneau covers help save gas? In episode 64 of the show (2006 Season Episode 21 revisited), Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman modify their truck to determine which modifications increase fuel efficiency. They examine a variety of factors:

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

The mesh tailgate markedly increased the car’s MPG. However, no other changes had any effect.

A few people have criticized their study because they only use one truck. However, if you’re going to follow Adam and Jamie’s viewpoint, only purchase a tonneau if you’re only interested in saving gasoline.

It’s the 2nd time MythBusters has discussed this topic. However, due to the controversy over the myth’s re-emergence, it shouldn’t be surprising that it will be featured in a different episode.

Consumer Reports Test

Consumer Reports ran their own small test in 2013, conducted using the Dodge Ram V8. They looked at two aspects. One of them was whether having the tailgate raised or down affected fuel efficiency. Another was whether a soft-tonneau cover helped fuel efficiency.

Surprisingly, they discovered that driving with the tailgate shut or using a soft tonneau cover made the fuel economy less efficient. It’s also crucial to note that they didn’t only have one tonneau cover; they only drove with one truck.

The study on whether tonneau covers enhance fuel efficiency has little faith; however, it does come into discussion when discussing tonneau covers and fuel economy.


Covers for the tonneau can improve gas mileage by decreasing resistance and drag. It could increase fuel efficiency by reducing resistance and drag.

The level of improvement you can expect will depend on the kind of truck you are using and the style of the cover. In most cases, you will experience an improvement of between 2 and five percent.

Additionally, the tonneau cover will aid in keeping the bed of your truck tidy and clear of dirt. This will make it easier to save money on repairs and replacements later on.

This article has discussed how the cover for a tonneau will help increase gas mileage while saving money.

If you’re searching for ways to boost the efficiency of your truck’s fuel consumption, consider buying a tonneau cover. We hope that following this post, you’ll decide if a cover for your tonneau is the best choice for you.