Why the junk in your trunk is costing you money

  • New research shows that half of drivers use their cars as mobile storage units

  • Motorists admit to keeping everything from toys and books to shoes and cleaning products in their cars

  • Almost a third admit to only decluttering their cars every few months at best

  • But excess weight can make a car less fuel efficient and cost money

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 saw more than half of motorists say they keep non-essential items in their car. More than a quarter say they simply can’t be bothered de-cluttering their cars, while one in 20 says they don’t have space in their home so use their vehicle as a place to store things.

Furthermore, around a third 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 way 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%), cleaning products (36%), books (26%), magazines (20%), toys and children’s accessories (18%), pet accessories (16%), work related items (16%) sports equipment and even sleeping bags (8%).

Mr McWhir added that UK drivers could save hundreds of pounds a year with a few changes to driving habits.

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 underinflated tyres.

“Harsh acceleration and braking, excess speed and changing gears too late increases fuel consumption significantly, as does running on underinflated 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. Underinflated 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.”

For more helpful tyre and general vehicle safety and economy advice, visit and explore the Learn-Share section.


Notes to editor:

Michelin, the leading tyre company, is dedicated to sustainably improving the mobility of goods and people by manufacturing and marketing tyres for every type of vehicle, including aircraft, bicycles/motorcycles, cars, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. It also offers electronic mobility support services on and publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in more than 170 countries, has 113,400 employees and operates 69 production plants in 18 different countries. The Group has a Technology Centre in charge of research and development with supporting operations in Europe, North America and Asia. (

Issued on behalf of Michelin by Bright, 5 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3ED. For further information please contact Louise Hall / Charlotte White at Bright on Tel: +44 (0)121 456 5600 Fax: +44 (0)121 456 5600 or email: