How much can installing a tonneau cover actually change your fuel economy?
It’s a question that’s been debated time and again, but we actually wanted to put it to the test. In this episode of our new informative serires “Let’s Find Out”, Andre and Nathan set out to answer some of the most fundamental questions truck owners face. We’ve taken a look at whether underinflated tires tank your fuel economy, and now it’s time to test out a tonneau cover attached to the bed. Will blocking off airflow into the bed help improve the truck’s aerodynamics and that precious mpg number by a notable measure in real-world testing?
Certain shows have set out to tackle that question as well, though we’re curious to see how such a cover affects “Stubby”, our 2022 Ram 1500 Classic. With a regular cab, long bed and fairly modest ride height, there may not be too many gains here. Nevertheless, the guys ran two test loops to find out. The first test had the tonneau cover fitted, while the second test ran completely stock with no cover over the bed.
After a 57-mile test run, the tonneau cover results for the Ram Classic clocked in at 21.142 mpg. That’s our baseline measurement, so it’s interesting to see how running the truck without it will compare.
When the guys ran that test at highway speeds, the result without a tonneau cover was 19.533 mpg. Remarkably, that comes out to a 7.7% improvement over a short run, or 1.61 mpg better with the cover installed. So, at least for this truck in the conditions we tested, there is a substantial difference at play if you’re looking into whether you should cover a tonneau for your truck.
Check out the full test below: