Fuel Economy Tip – Keep Your Tailgate Up

Today’s tip will probably come as a surprise to most of you, but will be especially useful for those of you who drive trucks.

Driving with your tailgate down doesn’t help you save gas.

I’ll be the first to admit, I bought into the notion that by having your truck’s tailgate down while you’re driving down the road (especially the highway) you would greatly increase your truck’s fuel economy. Apparently that just isn’t true.

According to several sites (Ask Yahoo! for example) state that you get roughly the same gas mileage driving with your tailgate up as you do when your tailgate is down.

According to the Ask Yahoo! article, this is the reason why:

“When the tailgate is raised, a “separated bubble” of stagnant air is formed in the bed of the pickup. Wind tends to swoosh over this bubble as though it were part of the truck. Lower the tailgate, and the bubble disappears, which leads to increased wind resistance.”

So, get rid of that net you used to replace your tailgate and go ahead and drive around with your tailgate up!

Comments

  1. This has to be the same guy using different names, there can’t possibly be this many effeminate truck drivers in the U.S. that are more concerned about spelling and less about the issue of saving gas. Sean… close your laptop, walk out of Starbucks, get in your Volkswagon Beetle, drive it off the nearest cliff.
    I would like to see a test, (no reality shows or college student theorems), just 2 identical trucks running side-by-side down I-95, one tailgate up and the other down. It would have to be operated and documented by a respectable source. Probably the only way this debate would be settled.

  2. You have to be the same guy using different names, I find it hard to believe that there are so many effeminate truck drivers in the U.S. that are more concerned about spelling than the issue of saving gas. Sean… close your laptop, walk out of Starbucks, get in your Volkswagon Beetle, drive off the nearest cliff.
    I would like to see a test (no reality shows or college student theorems), with 2 identical trucks driving down I-95 side-by-side from Virginia to Florida, one tailgate up and the other down. This would have to be operated and documented by a respectable source.. but that should settle the debate for those that rely on what they read instead of personal experience.

  3. Sean in CA says:

    No MK896, I just hate to see the English language morph into an unintelligible jumble of malapropisms and newly minted verbs that are really nouns. I don’t drive a VW (Chevy Colorado), don’t go to Starbucks (Peet’s) and don’t own a laptop. Getting back to the point of this commentary, I am in the tailgate up camp, but I don’t need to slam people who disagree with me. You are right, someone reputable should do a real world comparison test and perhaps put an end to the debate once and for all.

  4. Frank Giantonio says:

    In my situation I get a 20% increase in gas mileage with my tailgate down. I Think we’ve all see the mythbusters episode… but I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 4.7 engine. I’ve tested this theory many times… my tailgate stays down.

    • johnny grivette says:

      20% Frank? I think you may need to start holding your breath when you fuel up.

    • I have run tests as well and find that once I hit the 60 mph speed, having the tailgate down makes a small difference. At 70 mph it gives me a 3 MPG increase. 55 mph and slower, tailgate position doesn’t matter. These tests were done over hundreds of miles, not a 10 second reading of a flow meter. 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab 4×4 with multi- displacement. 21 mpg highway on regular gas.

  5. I have tried it many times @ 70 to 75mph & did not draw an accurate conclusion.However, on 1 trip to Calif. @ speeds above 80 mph I dbetter milage by 2.2mpg than ever before with the tailgate down. This was in a F-150 super cab, 4.6 engine, with 3.55 axle ratio,& 42 lbs. of air in the tires[ this is my normal amnt. when on a trip]. My conclusion=@ higher speeds it seems to aid mpg. with the gate down—@ 70mph little if any difference.

  6. Cummins5928 says:

    I think there is a lot of disputes on leaving the tailgate up or down. I do believe under the right speed at long distances leaving the gate down may improve fuel mileage, but tell me when and were in the highway system now adays that you can achive this with all the different speed zones and retarded drivers on the road. Obviously GM, Dodge, Ford etc.. know something about the debate and keep putting tailgates on for a reason other than hauling dont ya think..Everyone is trying to save fuel no doubt there especially with gas prices anymore. With what ive tried with everyday driving leaving your gate up is best for mileage and it keeps some other idiot from hitting it at a traffic light cuz they werent paying any attention..

  7. Jeff talbot says:

    Can anyone guide me to what episode this test was performed with pick-up truck(s) w/tailgate up? Or the tailgate down???thanks Jeff2112from
    Edmonton,Alberta,Canada

Trackbacks

  1. [...] improvement with the tailgate off. I won’t be carrying any load in the pick-up bed when its off. Daily Fuel Economy Tip

  2. [...] your tailgate up or down — even the Mythbusters hit this one; leave it up, according to a number of folks. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but facts are facts (I’m guessing the folks who make tail [...]

  3. [...] than tailgate up! – whether it makes any significant difference to the 1/4 times, I don’t know. Fuel Economy Tip – Keep Your Tailgate Up | Daily Fuel Economy Tip __________________ *conditions [...]

  4. [...] than tailgate up! – whether it makes any significant difference to the 1/4 times, I don’t know. Fuel Economy Tip – Keep Your Tailgate Up | Daily Fuel Economy Tip Yeah I saw that aswell, they said if your going to leave it on then the best thing to do is [...]

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