Does Taking Your Tailgate Off Give You Better MPG?

The question of whether taking your tailgate off gives you better MPG is one that’s been debated amongst truck enthusiasts for years. However, the truth behind this theory isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. When the tailgate is closed, it creates a smooth surface at the back of the truck, allowing air to flow evenly over it. This aerodynamic design helps to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. On the other hand, by removing the tailgate, the back of the truck is left open, creating a lot of turbulence. This turbulence disrupts the smooth flow of air, resulting in increased drag and decreased fuel efficiency. So, technically speaking, the shape of the truck is more aerodynamic with the tailgate closed, leading to better gas mileage. However, it’s important to note that the difference in fuel efficiency between driving with the tailgate on or off is generally minimal and may vary depending on the specific make and model of the truck. Additionally, other factors such as driving habits, terrain, and vehicle maintenance can also significantly impact fuel efficiency. Ultimately, it’s recommended to keep the tailgate on and ensure that your truck is well-maintained to achieve optimal fuel efficiency.

Do Tailgates Cause Drag?

Driving with the tailgate open is often believed to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. However, this widely held myth has been proven false by scientific studies. In reality, keeping the tailgate open on a truck actually disrupts the airflow, leading to increased drag and decreased efficiency.

This turbulence creates a negative effect known as the “bubble effect,” where the air is pulled towards the truck bed instead of flowing smoothly around it. This disruption of airflow increases the drag on the truck, resulting in decreased fuel efficiency.

In contrast, when the tailgate is closed, it helps to create a cushion of air known as the “bubble effect.”. This cushion effectively deflects the oncoming wind and reduces drag, improving the overall aerodynamics of the vehicle.

It’s important to note that these findings apply specifically to trucks and not to other types of vehicles. The design and size of the truck bed make it more susceptible to the negative effects of an open tailgate. Other vehicles, such as SUVs or sedans, have different aerodynamic properties and may not experience the same negative effects of an open tailgate.

The Potential Benefits of Tailgate Spoilers or Other Aerodynamic Add-Ons to Reduce Drag

Tailgate spoilers and other aerodynamic add-ons are designed to enhance the airflow around a vehicle, reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency. These modifications can potentially offer several benefits, such as increased stability, improved handling, and reduced wind noise. By strategically redirecting airflow, tailgate spoilers help to reduce the drag created by turbulent air at the rear of the vehicle, allowing it to move more smoothly through the air. This, in turn, can result in better fuel economy, as the vehicle requires less energy to overcome aerodynamic resistance. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these add-ons may vary depending on the vehicle’s design, speed, and other factors. Overall, incorporating such aerodynamic enhancements can potentially result in a more efficient and enjoyable driving experience.

Not only does tailgating increase the likelihood of a rear-end collision, but it also intensifies the pressure and stress on both the tailgater and the driver being tailgated. This aggressive behavior on the road disrupts the flow of traffic and contributes to a hostile driving environment. It’s crucial to address the underlying issues that lead to tailgating in order to promote safer and more courteous driving habits.

What Is Wrong With Tailgaters?

Tailgating is a dangerous behavior that poses significant risks on the road. One of the greatest concerns with tailgaters is the increased likelihood of rear-end collisions. When a driver follows too closely behind another vehicle, the limited distance between them reduces the time available to react and make necessary adjustments. In the event of a sudden stop by the front vehicle, the tailgater may not have sufficient time to brake or swerve, resulting in a potentially devastating crash.

Tailgating also contributes to a hostile and stressful driving environment. It creates an atmosphere of heightened tension on the road, as the driver being tailgated may feel harassed or anxious. This can lead to unnecessary frustration and road rage incidents, further escalating the danger for all parties involved.

By promoting safe driving habits, maintaining a respectful distance, and remaining mindful of the potential consequences, we can collectively work towards reducing the prevalence of tailgating and creating a safer driving environment for everyone.

The Psychology Behind Tailgating: Understanding the Mindset and Motivations of Drivers Who Engage in Tailgating Behavior.

Tailgating is a dangerous driving behavior that occurs when a driver follows another vehicle too closely. The psychology behind tailgating is complex and can involve several factors. One possible motivation is a sense of urgency or impatience, where the tailgater feels the need to reach their destination as quickly as possible. This behavior may also be driven by a desire for control or dominance on the road, as tailgaters attempt to assert their presence and intimidate other drivers. Additionally, some individuals may tailgate as a result of aggressive or competitive driving tendencies, seeking to gain an advantage by pressuring the driver in front to increase their speed or change lanes. Understanding these motivations can help raise awareness about this dangerous behavior and promote safer driving habits on the road.

Source: How Tailgating Causes Accidents and How to Prevent It

Additionally, removing the tailgate can also improve fuel efficiency by reducing drag and wind resistance. By eliminating the tailgate, air flows more smoothly over the truck, resulting in improved aerodynamics and potentially saving on fuel costs. Furthermore, some individuals prefer the aesthetic appeal of a truck without a tailgate, providing a more open and spacious look to the bed. These various reasons contribute to the common practice of removing tailgates for certain truck owners.

Why Do People Remove Tailgate?

Another reason why people remove tailgates is for improved fuel efficiency. This is particularly noticeable when driving at higher speeds. By eliminating the tailgate, the air flows more smoothly over the truck, reducing resistance and allowing for easier movement.

This is especially useful for those who frequently load and unload heavy or bulky items. Without the tailgate, there are no obstacles hindering the loading process, making it more convenient and efficient.

By eliminating the tailgate, the trucks bed can be extended, providing more space and flexibility for carrying long items such as lumber or pipes. This is particularly beneficial for professionals in construction or other industries where transporting large materials is a common task.

Ultimately, the decision to remove a tailgate is subjective and can vary based on individual preferences, specific vehicle usage, and desired functionality.


The misconception lies in the assumption that eliminating the tailgate would reduce drag and turbulence, thereby improving aerodynamics and ultimately saving fuel.

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