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Has anyone actually tried it both ways with the tailgate up and the tailgate down. DRiving my normal style and got just a hair less on MPG with my 07 Z71. I normally get about 13.5 with the tailgate up and I got about 13.2 with the tailgate down.

Regardless, If you're losing by two truck lengths you're going to need to do something more significant than lowering you're tailgate or taking the tailgate off.

Besides, are you sure his truck is stock or "stock"? Has he had different gears or maybe even a hypertech programmer without you knowing? There's too many variables to pinpoint why you're getting beat...and no its not the tailgate.
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