Will a Pickup Get Better MPG With a Topper

However, it’s important to note that the extent to which a truck topper impacts gas mileage can vary depending on various factors such as the design of the topper, the type of truck, the driving conditions, and the driving habits of the individual. In some cases, a well-designed and properly installed topper may have a minimal impact on fuel efficiency, especially if it’s aerodynamically streamlined to reduce wind resistance. Additionally, certain types of toppers, such as those made from lightweight materials or those that incorporate features like wind deflectors, can potentially mitigate the negative effects on gas mileage to some extent. Ultimately, it’s advisable to consider the specific needs and preferences of an individual before deciding whether to install a truck topper, weighing the potential benefits of increased cargo security and versatility against the potential increase in fuel consumption.

Does a Truck Get Better Gas Mileage With a Topper?

However, the type of topper you choose can also play a role in how much it affects your gas mileage. Fiberglass toppers tend to be lighter and more aerodynamic, which can help mitigate the impact on fuel efficiency. On the other hand, heavier and bulkier toppers made of materials like steel or aluminum can significantly reduce gas mileage.

Aerodynamics is another key factor to consider. Toppers with rounded edges and integrated spoilers can help streamline the airflow over the truck, reducing the drag and improving fuel efficiency.

For example, if you frequently drive at higher speeds or in areas with strong winds, the drag caused by the topper can have a more pronounced effect on fuel efficiency.

If the trucks suspension isn’t properly adjusted for the increased weight, it can lead to more resistance and subsequently lower fuel efficiency.

If maximizing fuel efficiency is a priority for you, choosing a lightweight and aerodynamic topper can help mitigate any negative impact on fuel economy. However, it’s important to remember that factors such as driving habits, terrain, and vehicle maintenance can also influence gas mileage.

The Long-Term Cost Savings of Investing in a Fuel-Efficient Truck Topper

  • Reduced fuel expenses
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Extended truck engine lifespan
  • Decreased carbon emissions
  • Potential tax incentives or rebates
  • Enhanced resale value
  • Improved aerodynamics
  • Protection against weather elements
  • Reduced wear and tear on cargo
  • Potential for increased hauling capacity

Adding a truck camper to your vehicle can significantly impact it’s fuel efficiency. For instance, a gasoline-powered one-ton truck hauling a 3,000-pound truck camper at 60 mph might achieve around 9 to 10 mpg. On the other hand, a comparable truck with a diesel engine can attain a more efficient 14 mpg under similar conditions.

How Much Does a Truck Camper Affect Mpg?

When it comes to the impact of a truck camper on mileage, several factors come into play. Firstly, the weight of the camper greatly influences fuel efficiency. Taking an example of a gasoline-powered one-ton truck, hauling a 3,000 pound truck camper, at a speed of 60 mph, you can expect a decrease in fuel efficiency. Typically, such a combination may result in around 9 to 10 mpg. However, it’s worth noting that a similar-sized truck equipped with a diesel engine would perform significantly better, achieving around 14 mpg under similar conditions.

The Impact of Different Camper Materials and Construction on Weight and Fuel Efficiency

  • Aluminum campers
  • Fiberglass campers
  • Composite campers
  • Wood campers
  • Steel campers
  • Carbon fiber campers
  • Foam insulation campers
  • Plastic campers

Source: Diesel vs Gas: The Pros and Cons for Truck Camper Rigs

However, there are other benefits to using a truck camper shell that may outweigh the decrease in mpg. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages and why people still choose to use camper shells despite the potential impact on fuel efficiency.

Do Truck Camper Shells Improve Mpg?

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The extra weight and aerodynamic drag created by the camper shell can significantly reduce your fuel economy. Studies have shown that adding a camper shell to a truck can decrease your mpg by up to 10%.

These shells are often made of heavy materials like fiberglass or aluminum, which can add several hundred pounds to your vehicle. As a result, your engine has to work harder to move the extra weight, which translates to higher fuel consumption.

Another factor is the impact on aerodynamics. Camper shells aren’t streamlined like the rest of your truck, so they create more wind resistance as you drive. This resistance increases as your speed goes up, causing your engine to work even harder and burn more fuel. It’s like driving with a parachute attached to your truck.

This can lead to increased engine temperatures and potentially reduce fuel efficiency even further.

If maximizing mpg is a priority for you, it may be worth considering alternative storage solutions or removing the camper shell when not needed.

Just know that despite their many advantages, camper shells aren’t going to do any favors for your mpg numbers.


In conclusion, opting for a pickup truck with a topper may not be the most fuel-efficient choice. The additional weight imposed by the topper leads to a decrease in overall gas mileage and fuel efficiency. While a topper provides additional storage and protection for cargo, it’s crucial to consider the trade-off between utility and fuel consumption. Drivers seeking improved mpg should evaluate alternative options that prioritize aerodynamics and lightweight construction to maximize their fuel efficiency.

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