Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gas Mileage And my Truck Tailgate

For about two years now I have been driving around with my truck tailgate down all the time. The only time I put it up is if I have something in the bed of the truck that I don't want to fall out. Why have I been doing this you ask?

Great question! I had heard that doing this would improve my gas mileage. I had heard it from multiple places and it made a lot of sense. Thinking about the wind that was flowing of my truck into the bed of the truck and then smacking into the close tailgate seems like a no brainer that it was slowing me up. With the tailgate down the wind doesn't need to hit anything and I can roll along and save some mpg's.

So the other night I was leaving my sons soccer practice and a friend was by the back of my truck. He offered to close the tailgate, and I said, no leave it down. I do it to save on gas. He said you are actually burning more gas that way. I said, no way, and was sure he was nuts.

Then he mentioned he saw it on an episode of Myth Buster. Man, that is probably one of the only things he could have said that would have convinced me. I love that show and they guys really seem to be on the ball with their experiments. So he was saying that basically the wind curls back and creates a ball in the back of the truck. Which definitely is true whether the tailgate is up or down, but small misc stuff always collects in the bed of my truck up near the cab. But further that the wind then starts to slide over this air ball and over the tailgate. With the tailgate down the wind actually pushes down on the tailgate and you get worse gas mileage. This really rocked my world!

So I got home and did some googling. It turns out the boys over at Myth Busters did indeed do an episode on this exact subject. And the myth that driving with your tailgate down saves gas mileage was...BUSTED! Ugh!

I did see in the comments from online readers some push back. They only tested it once. They had two different drivers. Etc. I do feel like those guys over at Myth Busters are pretty smart though.

So I've decided to put it to a test myself. I'm going to track my mileage with my tailgate up for the next three gas fill ups. Then I'll do the same with the tailgate down for three fill ups. I'll average both and see if I can find a difference. Now, my idea has some flaws as well because I'm just doing about a week of driving. Most of it is back and forth to work, but there isn't anything saying that I'm driving the same exact route for all my driving for the week, and at the same times, etc. But I guess I gotta go by something.

For the moment I'm assuming that the Myth Busters guys are right, but I think it's worth testing out for myself with my own truck.

I'll report back.

No comments: