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Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas?

Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas?

Adding a tonneau cover to the back of a truck is a popular choice. This flat cover goes over the bed of the truck and keeps everything inside nicely contained. Whether you use your truck for work or play, a tonneau cover can make life on the road more convenient.

One of the benefits you will sometimes hear presented as an argument in favor of tonneau covers is the opportunity to save gas. Could it be true that adding a simple tonneau cover to the back of your truck could cut down on fuel consumption? That certainly would be nice, but let’s look closer to see if it might be true.

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An Idea with Some Merit

To get right to the point – yes, adding a tonneau cover to your truck can improve gas mileage. With a cover over the bed, the truck will become somewhat more aerodynamic, and as a result, less fuel will be required to cover a given distance. So, if you have been thinking about getting a tonneau cover for your truck and you’d like to benefit from improved fuel consumption, there is reason to be optimistic about this purchase.

This is the point, however, where we need to toss a little bit of cold water on the excitement of this idea. While it does appear to be true that tonneau covers cut down on drag and improve gas mileage, those improvements are likely to be quite minor. The exact results will depend on your truck, the cover you purchase, your driving habits, and more, but you shouldn’t expect to see more than a 2% improvement in fuel economy – and it may be even less than that.

Let’s do a little math to see what that looks like:

If you get a 2% improvement in fuel economy, and your truck currently gets 15 miles per gallon, that would mean getting an extra .3 MPG. So, after adding the cover, you may get something around 15.3 miles per gallon on average. While it’s always nice to use less gas, most people would agree that such savings do not have a significant impact on your fuel spending.

One of Many Benefits

Buying a tonneau cover with the sole purpose of getting better gas mileage is an idea that is dubious, at best. Considering you’ll need to spend at least a couple hundred dollars on the cover, if not significantly more, the very modest fuel savings won’t seem like much in the end. So, should you forget about the idea of buying a cover? Not necessarily. It’s when you look at the bigger picture of what a cover has to offer that this purchase starts to make more sense. In addition to a small improvement in fuel economy, some of the other benefits of buying a cover include –

  • Keep things dry. The bed of your truck offers plenty of space to transport items, but those things are normally exposed to the elements. If you need to bring things with you that should be kept dry, an open bed really isn’t going to do the job. With a tonneau cover, you can keep everything nice and dry until you reach your destination.
  • Lock it up. An open bed also doesn’t do anything from a security perspective – anyone walking by while your truck is parked can easily see in the bed, and nothing would be stopping them from grabbing what they see. A locking tonneau cover not only puts your stuff out of site, but it also adds a physical barrier that will protect your things. Nothing is perfect in terms of security, of course, but having a locked cover over your bed is significantly safer than leaving it open.
  • Enjoy the look. Many people simply like the neat and tidy look of a tonneau cover on a pickup truck. This is in contrast to a traditional canopy, which can be effective from a practical standpoint, but is perhaps not as attractive and is usually more expensive.

Keep Your Truck Covered with American Steel

Should you buy a tonneau cover for the gas mileage benefits alone? Probably not. When you look at everything that a tonneau cover brings to the table, however, it starts to look like an appealing overall package. Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to consider American Steel Carports, Inc. for upcoming projects on your property.


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