Do camper shells improve gas mileage? (5 tips to save gas)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do camper shells improve gas mileage? We will offer you an alternative for camper shells, but also discuss gas consumption and how to save gas with your pickup truck. 

Do camper shells improve gas mileage?

No, camper shells do not improve gas mileage. In fact, for what it’s worth, camper shells lower your mph due to the extra weight. Another fact that we must address here is that camper shells do not improve your truck’s aerodynamics.

If you think about it, camper shells are there to offer extra space, but they make your vehicle heavier. While weight increases, gas mileage decreases – it’s a common notion. The heavier the vehicle is, the more gas it will need to run. 

Look at the table below for estimated fuel consumption for different weights. 

Estimated fuel cost savings over 125,000 miles

Weight reductionCarsPick up trucks
20 lbs$104$130
55 lbs$260$325 
110 lbs$520$650 
220 lbs$1,040$1,300 
440 lbs$2,080$2,600 
880 lbs$4,160 $5,200 
2200 lbs$10,400$13,000

Are there any camper shells that can improve gas mileage?

As we have established, a camper shell will not improve gas mileage. However, there is a great alternative, a lighter option, that will not sacrifice mileage.

A camper shell is essentially used for the extra space and to store some piece of equipment. They are different from truck campers, which usually have a bed and are basically a living area. A tonneau cover is your best option. It is made from lighter materials and serves the same purpose as a camper shell, without affecting your mileage!

A tonneau cover is a soft or hard cover placed over the bed of a truck to improve aerodynamics and protect cargo. It comes in different styles: some can be retracted or raised, while some can be folded back. There are also different materials used to make tonneau covers, such as vinyl, leather, canvas and polyester for soft covers, and fiberglass and aluminum for hard covers.

There are many types of tonneau covers⁠, the most common of which are:

  • Rollable soft tonneaus
  • Roll-up rigid covers
  • Soft folding covers
  • Rigid folding covers
  • Retractable covers
  • One-piece solid covers.

It is essential that you think about what type of tonneau cover you need for your specific needs.

How to improve truck gas mileage?

Below we will discuss a few basic tips that each pickup driver must know in order to improve their gas mileage. 

  1. Follow your truck maintenance schedule. It’s printed in your truck manual. Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended PSI to make your truck get at least the gas mileage it’s supposed to get. For best gas mileage results, you should keep your tires slightly over-inflated. 

Keeping your truck’s engine tuned and filled with the correct fluids will help improve your gas mileage. Keeping your truck’s wheels aligned properly will also help you get the best gas mileage from your truck.

  1. Keep your camper shell/tonneau cover on when you are driving. This will improve the aerodynamics of the truck and generally give five to ten per cent better fuel economy. An open truck bed reduces your gas mileage when the tailgate is raised. If you don’t have a cover, then keep your tailgate down. 

This will serve almost the same purpose as a truck bed top. Also, get better gas mileage by keeping your truck bed away from loads whenever possible.

  1. Set your speed control on highways and roads. Adjust your speed in cruise control to the posted speed limit or slightly slower when driving on a highway or highway. This will keep your speed constant whether you stay in the centre or right lanes and will optimize your car’s gas mileage.
  1. Use regular gasoline, if possible. Fill your gas tank with regular gasoline unless the manual recommends a higher octane truck fuel. Some drivers put premium gasoline in their trucks and waste fuel and money. For most trucks, manufacturers recommend regular octane. 

According to a consumer alert from the Federal Trade Commission, “In most cases, using a higher octane gas than the manufacturer recommends offers no benefit. Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money.

  1. Avoid idling when possible. Avoid long periods of idling time. Try to park your truck and go into pharmacies, fast food restaurants and banks to do your business, instead of going through the drive-through.
  1. Avoid stop and go driving. Avoid stop and go driving. This will help improve your truck’s gas mileage and will reduce the need for unscheduled maintenance. Plan your trips and routes at times when traffic is generally light.


When it comes to improving gas mileage, always choose to travel light. By reducing the weight of your truck to a minimum, you could save money at the pump. For example, 100 pounds of additional baggage could represent a 2% fuel increase.

Transport accessories (roof racks, bicycle rack), all these accessories allow the increase of the transport capacities of your vehicle, this will increase your fuel consumption. Remember,  while weight increases, gas mileage decreases – it’s a common notion. The heavier the vehicle is, the more gas it will need to run. 

Please feel free to contact us, should you have any questions, comments or suggestions on how to improve gas mileage. 

FAQ on Do camper shells improve gas mileage?

How to regulate gasoline consumption?

To regulate  gasoline consumption: 

  • Avoid accelerating the accelerator. 
  • Avoid climbing too high in the towers.
  • Anticipate traffic. 
  • Stop the engine. 
  • Shift gears quickly. 
  • Shift down rather than brake. 
  • Avoid leaving the air conditioning always on.
  • Use cruise control.

How to save fuel on a descent?

To consume less fuel on a descent, slow down on the way up and let go of the throttle completely on the way down. Maintaining cruising speed when the road climbs requires extra fuel. And all the more so as the road is steep.

What speed to consume less?

Driving a little slower, for example, 120 instead of 130 km h on the motorway, allows you to consume much less. Thus, with a reduction in speed of 10 km / h, the economy rises to 1 litre of fuel on a journey of 100 km.

Are camper shells useful?

Yes, camper shells can be useful. They offer extra space to store your equipment and also protect the truck bed when driving. There are different types and sizes of camper shells, so make sure you choose the one that fits your needs best. 

How much do Leer camper shells cost?

Leer camper shells can cost between $1200 and $1800, including the costs of installation. Leer camper sheets are made from aluminium and are very popular caps for pickups. 


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