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Old 02-07-2013, 02:36 PM
wolfman01 wolfman01 is offline
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Default Tonneau Covers and MPG

I've heard that tonneau covers help mileage, and that they hurt mileage. Has anyone done a comparison of fuel mileage with and without a cover on their truck? I'm thinking of adding one, but only if it will mean improved mileage.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:43 PM
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if it hurts mileage it's because of the additional weight. so i guess the lighter the better. The guys running hard covers probably see the decrease. I think it's been proven that with the tailgate up, a pillow of air forms in the bed of truck that the "rest of the incoming air" rolls off of, essentially an invisible cover. It's when people drop the tailgate, they lose that pillow of air and it actually hurts mileage (which is why I laugh when i see people still doing this).

Regardless, i think the gains/losses will be minimal, i couldn't imagine more than a +/- 1mpg. I would get a cover for practicality purposes, not just to increase MPG. If you do get one, and are worried about mpg, go light as opposed to heavy.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonefishin776 View Post
if it hurts mileage it's because of the additional weight. so i guess the lighter the better. The guys running hard covers probably see the decrease. I think it's been proven that with the tailgate up, a pillow of air forms in the bed of truck that the "rest of the incoming air" rolls off of, essentially an invisible cover. It's when people drop the tailgate, they lose that pillow of air and it actually hurts mileage (which is why I laugh when i see people still doing this).

Regardless, i think the gains/losses will be minimal, i couldn't imagine more than a +/- 1mpg. I would get a cover for practicality purposes, not just to increase MPG. If you do get one, and are worried about mpg, go light as opposed to heavy.
I was looking at the fabric roll up ones as they don't trade off the useability of the bed for carrying large stuff.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:12 PM
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I think u should be good to go with one of those
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:20 PM
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You should get the cover you like and can afford. My opinion is that the mileage isn't going to be a huge factor. If it was, you would be driving a prius! lol
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:21 PM
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MythBusters & a couple other programs have done tests to see just which gives better gas mileage, tonneau, no tonneau, tailgate dropped, tailgate removed, tailgate net, etc. etc.
Personally i watch NasCar truck racing & they all have covers, but they are not too worried about MPG & they don't have a truck bed floor, so they do it for looks
I have a cover so that people don't use my truck bed as a dumpster & they don't see what i carry in my truck bed, out of site, out of mind, so to speak. It also keeps water, dirt, dust, bird dung, leaves, etc. out of the bed.

If i am losing 1/2 gallon of gas per 500 miles, because of a tonneau, it is worth it to have one
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVL View Post
You should get the cover you like and can afford. My opinion is that the mileage isn't going to be a huge factor. If it was, you would be driving a prius! lol
I don't drive a Prius because the Prius is obsolete. I drive a Volt on a daily basis except in the winter.

As for the rest of my vehicles, I still strive to obtain the best possible fuel economy out of them. I took a trip to Minot and back in the Ram yesterday, and managed to just squeak out an even 20 mpg reading on the mileage computer.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:01 PM
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I wish I could recall the link to post here, for a nice study done on this very question. The study compared MPG with no cap, cover etc., with a cap & then with tonneau covers. The gist of the study results indicated tonneau covers gave only a very slight increase in MPG over no covering at all and caps gave only a slight decrease in MPG. Bottom line is if you need or want covering for your bed whether in a tonneau cover or cap form, MPG should not factor into the equation since the differences were insignificant.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:37 PM
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I know this may sound a little weird but heres my input on this. I just bought my ram and it had a tonneau cover on it, its older and just fabric / vinyl and a little worn out but no rips or tears just older and maybe a little stretched. At faster speeds I could see the cover moving in the wind, kinda up down up down etc... air was somehow still getting under there or it was no longer tight enough and the air on top was able to push it down at thruway speeds. I found a cheap fiberglass cap on craigslist and just went to go pick it up the other day. On the way there was getting a horrible 14 mpg on the way to pick it up. On the way back I never went lower than 14.5 mpg. (still horrible lol) Maybe its just coinencidence but Im wondering if getting rid of that buffeting on the tonneau cover and smoothing out that air flow at the rear helped the mpg a litte?
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:03 PM
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If I remember correctly, the Mythbuster testing confirmed that the best setup is to remove the tailgate and install a tailgate net. That gave the best MPG over anything else (albiet hardly noticeable). Get a cover U need to keep things dry and clean, everything else (gaining better MPG) is of no real use in the real world. BTW a Government Motors VOLT...really! I know U probly picked one up with that big discount. IMO the Volt is obsolete, bring back the small diesels, better yet allow us Americans to buy the diesels that the rest of the world already have! A VW Polo will get 75mpg+ all day long! Sorry, pet pieve of mine
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