Are you looking to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and save some extra bucks at the gas pump? 

Ever wondered if tonneau covers could be the solution? In this article, we’ll explore tonneau covers and their potential impact on gas mileage.

So, do tonneau covers save gas, or is it a myth?

do tonneau covers save gas

Do tonneau covers save gas?

Yes, tonneau covers can save gas. By reducing aerodynamic drag, they cut air resistance and improve fuel efficiency.

Over the truck bed, tonneau covers to create a streamlined surface that reduces turbulence.

How do tonneau covers contribute to better fuel economy?

There are various ways tonneau covers can impact your fuel economy and help you save money at the pump.

Minimizing Drag:

A tonneau cover reduces drag by creating a streamlined surface over the truck bed.

As your vehicle moves forward, it encounters less resistance, requiring less power and fuel.

Aerodynamic Design:

Tonneau covers are engineered to improve airflow around the truck bed. Their sleek design reduces turbulence, which can affect fuel efficiency.

Decreasing Wind Resistance:

When driving at high speeds, air can enter the truck bed and create wind resistance.

Tonneau covers seal off the bed, preventing air from entering and minimizing the impact of wind resistance. 

This allows your vehicle to maintain its momentum more, resulting in better fuel economy.

Reducing Tailgate Drag:

Open tailgates can create significant air drag, especially at higher speeds.

By providing a barrier between the truck bed and the airstream, tonneau covers reduce drag caused by open tailgates.

Improving Truck Bed Storage:

Tonneau covers also offer practical storage solutions. They reduce fuel economy by protecting your cargo from wind drag.

The covers provide added security and weather protection for your belongings.

Research and Studies on Tonneau Covers’ Impact on Gas Mileage

Research and Studies on Tonneau Covers' Impact on Gas Mileage

The use of tonneau covers on pickup trucks can save fuel, according to several studies and sources.

These studies offer a range of estimates to help you understand the possible benefits.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) study:

In a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), tonneau covers can save you up to 10% on gas. 

The purpose of this study was to determine the aerodynamic and fuel efficiency effects of tonneau covers. Results showed that tonneau covers improved gas mileage.

Consumer Reports:

According to Consumer Reports, tonneau covers can save up to 10% on gas. Tests and comparisons were conducted under real-world driving conditions.

Consumer Reports suggests tonneau covers can increase fuel efficiency.

University of Windsor study:

The University of Windsor researchers found that tonneau covers can provide approximately 6 gas mileage savings.

Researchers considered vehicle speed, air resistance, and the design of tonneau covers in the study.

Popular Mechanics:

The popular automotive magazine Popular Mechanics investigated tonneau covers’ impact on fuel economy.

Other studies have found that tonneau covers can save between 5% and 10% on gasoline.

According to Popular Mechanics, selecting the right tonneau cover depends on the model of your truck.

Here’s a table summarizing the potential gas savings with tonneau covers:

Study/SourceGas Savings Percentage
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) study5-10%
Consumer ReportsUp to 10%
University of Windsor study6%
Popular Mechanics5-10%

What are the benefits of using tonneau covers for saving gas?

What are the benefits of using tonneau covers for saving gas

Here are the key benefits of using tonneau covers for saving gas:

Aerodynamic Efficiency:

Tonneau covers, also known as truck bed covers, are designed to streamline the airflow over your truck’s bed.

By providing a sleek and uninterrupted surface, they reduce the drag caused by air resistance. 

A more aerodynamic truck requires less energy to propel forward, resulting in fuel savings. You can cut air turbulence in your vehicle’s bed area by installing a tonneau cover.

Reduced Wind Resistance:

When driving at higher speeds, the air flowing into the bed of an open truck can create significant wind resistance.

This resistance not only hampers the vehicle’s performance but also increases fuel consumption. 

A tonneau cover reduces wind resistance by preventing air from entering the truck bed. Improved gas mileage comes from less resistance to overcome.

Minimized Tailgate Drag:

An open or unlatched tailgate can act as a wind scoop, capturing and funneling air into the truck bed. 

Tonneau covers drop or reduces tailgate drag, which can cause turbulence and disrupt the smooth flow of air.

By keeping the tailgate down, you maintain better aerodynamics and save fuel.

Cargo Protection:

Tonneau covers not only enhance fuel efficiency but also provide valuable protection for the items you carry in your truck bed.

A cover protects your cargo from the elements, such as rain, snow, and UV rays. 

By eliminating extra tarps or covers, you can reduce wind resistance and improve gas mileage. It’s easy to transport items with a tonneau cover.

Improved Truck Bed Organization:

Tonneau covers also provide practical benefits that reduce fuel consumption. By covering your truck bed, you create a secure and enclosed storage space for your belongings. 

Improves vehicle balance and fuel efficiency by reducing unnecessary weight and loose items shifting during transit. 

Maximize your vehicle’s performance and gas mileage with a well-organized truck bed.

Potential Gas Savings:

Tonneau covers can result in gas savings ranging from 5% to 10% depending on driving conditions and cover design.

By investing in a high-quality tonneau cover, you can achieve significant fuel savings over time. 

These estimates take into account the combined impact of improved aerodynamics, reduced wind resistance, and minimized tailgate drag.

Choosing the Right Tonneau Cover

Choosing the Right Tonneau Cover

Determine Your Requirements:

Take into account factors such as fuel efficiency, cargo protection, or a combination of both when choosing a tonneau cover. 

Understand what you are transporting and whether you need quick access to the bed.

Consider Cover Types:

There are several types of tonneau covers available, each with its own advantages. Here are some common options:

Roll-Up Covers

It is a lightweight, affordable, versatile cover that rolls up for easy access to the truck bed. Roll-up covers balance convenience and security.

Folding Covers:

A folding cover usually consists of panels that fold back to access the bed.

A folding cover is a durable product that offers partial or full bed access. It is known for its strength and security.

Retractable Covers:

With retractable covers, you can access the entire bed or partial bed.

They are usually made of aluminum or fiberglass, offering excellent weather protection and security. A retractable cover looks sleek and streamlined

Hinged Covers:

Also providing easy access to the truck bed, hinged covers are made of durable materials like fiberglass or aluminum.

Toolbox Covers:

If you have a toolbox mounted in your truck bed, consider a tonneau cover designed to accommodate it. 

Toolbox covers integrate with the toolbox, providing protection and security for both the bed and the toolbox.

Assess Security Features:

Consider the level of security you need for your truck bed. Some tonneau covers offer advanced security features, such as built-in locks or secure latching mechanisms. 

If you carry valuable items or want added peace of mind, opt for covers with enhanced security measures.

Test Installation and Accessibility:

Look for tonneau covers that are easy to install and use. Some cover drilling into your truck bed, whereas others clamp on without drilling.

Consider your level of comfort with installation and whether you may need to remove or reinstall the cover.

Consider Material and Durability:

Various materials are used to construct tonneau covers, including vinyl, fabric, aluminum, fiberglass, and hard plastics. 

Each material has its own durability, weather resistance, and aesthetics. In order for the cover to last over time, take into account the climate and conditions where it will be used.

Read Reviews and Seek Recommendations:

Read reviews and seek recommendations from other truck owners or online communities.

Pay attention to feedback on durability, ease of use, installation process, and satisfaction.

Set a Budget:

The cost of a tonneau cover varies depending on the type, features, and brand.

Consider both the short-term cost and the long-term value of the cover before making your buy.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Tonneau Covers

Proper maintenance and care are essential for ensuring the longevity and performance of your tonneau cover.

By following these steps, you can keep your cover in excellent condition and maximize its functionality.

Regular Cleaning:

Must maintain your tonneau cover’s appearance and functionality. Start by removing loose debris, such as leaves or dirt, from its surface.

Use a mild soap or tonneau cover cleaner to scrub the cover. Rinse with water. 

Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the finish.

Regular cleaning will prevent dirt buildup, extend the life of the cover, and ensure smooth operation.


The manufacturer recommends applying lubricant to moving parts of your tonneau cover.

Lubrication prevents rust and corrosion, ensures easy operation, and prolongs the lifetime of these components.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate type and frequency of lubrication.

Inspect Seals and Weatherstripping:

If your tonneau cover’s seals and weatherstripping are damaged or worn out, water, dust, or debris can get into your truck bed, compromising its effectiveness.

To maintain a secure and weather-resistant seal, consider replacing the seals if you notice cracks or gaps.

Address Tears or Damage:

Your tonneau cover should be addressed if you see any tears, punctures, or other damage. Over time, small tears can worsen, affecting their integrity and protection. 

Manufacturers may sell repair kits that allow you to patch minor damage to the cover. In the case of significant damage, contact the manufacturer or a professional.

Avoid Excessive Weight:

Tonneau covers can support some weight, but overloading them can damage or decrease functionality.

Don’t overload your tonneau cover. To prevent unnecessary stress on the cover, follow the manufacturer’s weight guidelines.

Snow and Ice Removal:

To remove accumulated snow and ice from your tonneau cover during winter or in snowy areas, use a soft brush or a snow rake designed for delicate surfaces. 

Make sure your cover is not damaged by sharp or metal objects. Remove snow and ice to prevent excess weight, cover shape, and prevent water intrusion.

Proper Storage:

To prevent the growth of mold and mildew on your tonneau cover, make sure it is clean and dry before you store it. If possible, store the cover flat to maintain its shape. 

Store it in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight to prevent damage from UV rays.


Are Tonneau Covers Difficult To Install?

Tonneau covers are easy to install. Some drilling, while others offer clamp-on, no-drill installation.

Can A Tonneau Cover Protect My Cargo From Weather Elements?

Yes, tonneau covers provide protection for your cargo against elements such as rain, snow, and UV rays.

They help keep your belongings secure and in good condition.

Is Tonneau Covers Worth The Investment?

A tonneau cover offers more benefits than gas savings, such as improved security, cargo protection, and organized truck bed storage.


With a tonneau cover, you can improve fuel efficiency by reducing drag and wind resistance. Invest in a tonneau cover today and start saving gas. 

Tonneau covers protect your cargo and add style to your truck while saving you 5% to 10% on fuel.

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