Increased Fuel Economy
One of the biggest advantages to having a tonneau cover is the positive effect it will have on your wallet - tonneau covers save gas! While the effect may not be immediately noticeable, most people agree that having a tonneau cover does lower fuel consumption.
Every Little Bit Helps
According to EPA Emission Facts, the average light truck is driven about 12,400 miles per year. Given that the average domestic pickup truck has a fuel economy of around 16 miles per gallon, you can expect to burn around 775 gallons of gasoline each year. At $3.00 per gallon, you're spending about $2,325 annually. According to a fuel economy study conducted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), tonneau covers increase gas mileage by around 11.81%, for an average increse of 1.18 miles per gallon. That increase in fuel economy can reduce your annual gas consumption by about 53 gallons per year, for an annual a savings of around $160.
Over the life of your vehicle, the cost savings can be significant. If you were to drive your pickup truck with a tonneau cover for 100,000 miles, you could potentially save 430 gallons of fuel - that's $1,290 in savings! Some people drive that in a year. Of course there are many factors to take into consideration, such as engine wear, tire pressure, driving habits and more - but the fact remains that tonneau covers help improve fuel economy.
Tonneau Covers vs. Lowered Tailgates
Many people still believe that you'll get better gas mileage with the tailgate down. However, this is simply not true. In fact, having your tailgate down may actually reduce gas mileage! The Discovery Channel's MythBusters actually tested the lowered tailgate myth in a series of tests during episode 43 and 64, in which they proved that driving with your tailgate down decreases gas mileage.
Reduced Pain at the Pump
Gas prices are at an all-time high and show no signs of returning to the low prices we once enjoyed. The reality is that gas prices will continue to rise as we drive along in the twenty-first century. Savvy consumers can recognize the benefit that tonneau covers offer. Increased fuel economy means fewer trips to the gas pump, and more money in your pocket to pay for other expenses.
Good for the Environment
Although pickup trucks are not the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road today, there are ways you can help improve your gas mileage, which is always good for the environment. Tonneau covers reduce the amount of drag caused by wind while you drive down the road. Everyone knows that as you reduce drag, you increase performance, which saves gas. A tonneau cover combined with good driving habitis and a well-tuned engine can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus help the environment.
The Tonneau Cover Debate
There have long been many controversies surrounding the relationship between tonneau covers and gas mileage. While it is accepted that truck bed covers help improve gas mileage, many people refuse to believe this at face value. Most people cannot detect the improvement in gas mileage because the change is so slight. Online forums are filled with positive and negative results, but most of these comments are far from scientific. While its true that individual results may vary, tonneau covers have been proven to increase fuel economy.