Estimated Time to Read: 3 minutes

During these tough economic times, saving money is a top priority. May people find various creative ways to stretch their money as the United States and its government continues to work to knock down the economic problems this country has endured since almost the beginning of the new millennium. As gasoline prices continue to hover around or above $4 (depending on the part of the U.S.), many motorists have discovered that eliminating excess bulk in their automobiles while travelling is a good way to increase gas mileage and save money.

Quite often, automobile owners, accumulate excess items in their vehicles. Many of these articles could simply be taken into their homes. Or, in many cases, these articles should by thrown away. Some people just become “attached to things.” These “attachments” will decrease the gas mileage of their automobile. It is important for a motorist to prioritize, thereby eliminating items that are simply taking up space in their vehicle.

Different people accumulate different things. Those who are into the educational sector (whether they be students or teachers) usually end up with many books and folders in their vehicle. This problem can be remedied by simply categorizing by days which books and/or folders are to be used. Those that are not needed on a given day should be left home.

There are drivers who are well over age 21 who are still “big kids.” Toys and stuffed animals are the order of the day for these people. Though there is nothing wrong with being “childlike” or “young-at-heart,” financial responsibility will have to be addressed at some point. Perhaps motorists can carry one “lucky” stuffed animal and one sentimental toy during their drive. However, driving with several of these “prized positions” increases the gasoline bill every week, every month, and every year.  It would be in the best interest of the motorist to leave several of these possessions at home.

Then there are those people who “work and live in their car.” These people’s vehicles inhabit mail, books, bills, and food and drink containers. When they arrive home after their work days are through, they leave most of the aforementioned items in the vehicle. Many times, when the next work day comes, these drivers bring more “stationary” and “work tools” to put and leave in the vehicle. All the while, they are decreasing their miles per gallon.

To help to make the situation better and more economical, motorists should take into account what they really need with them at all times in their vehicle. The heaviest thing that they will need is the spare tire. For those who are not huge on computer technology a city guide book (for Los Angeles, that would be the Thomas Guide) would be the best book to keep in their vehicle.  A flashlight, charger cables, a screw driver, and registration and insurance papers should be significant items to keep in the car at all times. Perhaps an extra umbrella for unexpected rain and a telephone book with key numbers can also be great allies.

Motorists should remove excess weight from their vehicles. They should avoid keeping unnecessary items in their vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in a vehicle could reduce miles per gallon by up to two percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Joseph Wright is a staff writer for 4 Wheel Parts.