Consumer: Carrying too much junk in your trunk?

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New car registrations in the UK have increased by 5.1 per cent to reach a 10-year high and sales of small, fuel-efficient cars have jumped ahead as drivers seek to cut costs.

However millions of drivers are using their cars as portable storage units, driving around with junk, household items and general clutter that could be costing them money.

That’s according to new research released today by tyre manufacturer Michelin which revealed that more than half of motorists in Yorkshire admit they keep non-essential items in their car.

More than a quarter say they simply can’t be 
bothered de-cluttering their cars, while around a quarter admits they only have a car clean-out once every few months at best.

Many of us fail to clear out our cars ahead of long journeys, with one in six leaving cars cluttered before a big trip despite the fact more than half believe they should make sure their vehicle is cleared out before taking off.

Keeping lots of non-essential items in the car in this can weigh it down, ultimately making it less fuel efficient and costing money.

Jamie McWhir, Michelin UK technical manager, said: “The research highlighted that we really are a nation of car hoarders.

“But carrying around all these unnecessary items is costing UK drivers cash because they will be using more fuel.

“It’s important to carry seasonally-essential and safety items such as de-icer and oil, but Michelin is calling on drivers to ditch the junk to power up their day to day fuel economy.”

According to the study by Michelin, which surveyed drivers across the UK, we are driving around with a host of unnecessary items for months on end, everything from shoes (31 per cent), cleaning products (36 per cent), books (26 per cent), magazines (20 per cent), toys and children’s accessories (18 per cent), pet accessories (16 per cent), work related items (16 per cent) sports equipment and even sleeping bags (8 per cent.

Mr McWhir said “carrying a few extra pairs of shoes around will cost money in the long run”, and added that UK drivers could save hundreds of pounds a year with a few other changes to driving habits.

He said: “In the same way that we consider energy usage in the home, such as turning off lights and not leaving the TV on standby or mobile on charge, there are a host of simple habits that can reduce fuel consumption. For example, air-conditioning uses more fuel at low speeds, but at higher speeds is more efficient; unused roof racks and boxes add wind resistance, and try to change up a gear at below 2,000 rpm in a diesel car or 2,500 rpm in a petrol car.”