8. Driving Style
Even if you take all of these measures to improve your vehicle's economy, nothing will suck up more gas than a lead foot. Sure, we all like to indulge the urge for surge every now and then, but even a miserly Honda Civic can dip below 20 mpg under an unrelenting heavy foot. On level roads, there should be little need to rev the engine much above 2,000 rpm during normal driving, especially with generally torquey truck engines.

On the freeway, engage Overdrive on automatics, unless towing or hauling, and upshift into the Overdrive gear on manuals. Cruise control is an effective economy tool on level roads, but can actually increase fuel consumption on uphill climbs. Above all, use common sense, and it may pay off by saving you dollars.

9. Tonneau Covers and Camper Shells
Pickups have inherently poor aerodynamic characteristics. This is partly due to their open beds and tailgate, which cause a great deal of turbulence and, consequently, aerodynamic drag. However, contrary to popular belief, recent studies have shown that simply lowering your tailgate increases drag.

Unless you're hauling on a daily basis, a tonneau cover might be a wise investment. Not only does it clean up your truck's styling, but it also eliminates a great deal of the aerodynamic drag associated with a pickup. If you do haul frequently but still want the increased efficiency afforded by a tonneau, several companies offer retractable bedcovers.

Camper shells no longer have the "Grandpa's fishing rig" stigma they used to. Early shells looked like they were constructed from scraps from the Winnebago factory, using stylish ribbed, wood-textured fiberglass slabs. Newer models are contoured, have flush-mounted glass, are available in the most popular colors, or can be painted to match your vehicle. In addition to giving you a large, secure cargo area, the better-designed models also reduce drag.

10. Engine Programmers
Most later-model domestic fullsize trucks have many aftermarket options available to improve performance and efficiency. These plug-in programmers allow the owner to adjust spark timing, injector pulse width, speedometer calibration, and a variety of other variables to improve overall efficiency. Note that certain settings require use of premium fuel.

The Final Word
If you follow these 10 simple steps, your truck will be more efficient and sip the gas instead of chugging it. Out of all the things we talked about, the electronic power programmers constitute the easiest semipermanent power-and-mileage modification you can perform. Just about every one on the market boasts mileage increases, but there are so many available it's difficult to determine what your options are. Have no fear! Following this story is a guide to programmers that will tell you what they do and where to get them. All you need to do is decide which one is best for your specific application.

Gibson Performance Exhaust
3780 Prospect Ave.
Yorba Linda
CA  92686
Granatelli Motor Sports
MSD Ignition
El Paso
K&N Engineering
1455 Citrus Ave.
CA  92502
Advanced Power Systems Int'l
Pace Edwards
2400 Commercial Blvd.
WA  98531