Declutter your boot and pump up your tyres to cut fuel costs

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With property prices soaring and living space at a premium these days, it is little surprise to discover that more than half of British drivers are using their cars as extra household storage, according to a survey by Michelin tyres.

According to the tyre manufacturers study, motorists admit to carrying everything from shoes (31%) to cleaning products (36%), books (26%), magazines (20%), toys and children’s things (18%), pet accessories (16%) and work-related items (16%) in the boots of their cars.

Apart from turning your vehicle into a mobile ‘junk room’, driving all this excess weight around means motorists are also pumping up their fuel consumption, because it decreases the vehicles fuel economy.

The research released by Michelin tyres reveals while more than a quarter of vehicle owners say they simply can’t be bothered de-cluttering their cars, one in 20 admit they don’t have space in their home so use their vehicle as a place to store things.

Jamie McWhir, Michelin tyres 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.”

And he added that UK drivers could save hundreds of pounds a year with a few changes to driving habits, including making sure their tyres are properly inflated.

He said: “Carrying a few extra pairs of shoes around will cost money in the long run, but it pales into insignificance when you compare it to poor driving style or running on under-inflated tyres.

“Harsh acceleration and braking, excess speed and changing gears too late increases fuel consumption significantly, as does running on under-inflated tyres.

“About one tank in five is used up just to overcome the rolling resistance of the tyres, so choosing energy-efficient tyres that will last a long time – and running them at the correct pressures – is vital.

“It’s also important for safety. Under-inflated tyres don’t just cost money, they also hamper handling and braking.”

Mr McWhir added: “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.”

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