We've all heard this one before. It's actually something I dabbled with in my early 20s. I was doing a lot of driving through Dallas, TX and across the state, and someone told me that putting my tailgate down would increase my gas mileage. So I tried it out.

But is that true?

There's something about this ol' trick that seems like it should work great... inside my nonscientific brain. Putting the tailgate down must reduce drag, right? Anyone else feel like the wind hitting the tailgate when it's up slows you down? Certainly putting it down makes your old Chevy more aerodynamic, right?

WRONG. In fact, driving with a tailgate down causes more drag. And can actually decrease your MPGs.

When the tailgate is closed, according to these fine folks, "it creates a specific type of airflow known as a separated bubble within the confines of the truck bed. While the truck is in motion, the bubble of slow-moving air deflects the wind over the raised tailgate. The surrounding air is guided over and across the bed of the truck resulting in a vortex effect. It’s this vortex effect that prevents any added drag."

But there's more to it than affecting your gas mileage. Turns out you could be ticketed in Texas for driving with your tailgate down.

Don't Operate Your Truck with the Tailgate Down Unless You're Hauling a Bulky Load. Also, you cannot operate a truck with a bed with the tailgate down. Unless you're driving a bulky load (which has to be safely secured), you're breaking the law if you drive and don't close the tailgate. READ MORE HERE.

I've never heard of someone getting a ticket for this particular infraction, and I've got a lot of friends who drive trucks.

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