Australia’s Car Running Costs Statistics Revealed!

car running costs statistics

Owning a car is not necessarily a valuable commodity. When you consider future vehicle expenses, such as registration, insurance, gasoline and maintenance costs, you might wonder if your investment is really worth it!

Fortunately, we’ve collected the most important car running costs statistics to help you decide whether you should buy that car you’ve had your eye on or stick with Uber for just a little longer!

Up for a ride? Let’s go!

Startling Car Running Costs Facts That Will Make You Reconsider Walking

  • The average two-car household pays around $130 per week in car loan payments.
  • The cost for roadside assistance amounted to a weekly average of $2.08 in 2019.
  • Light cars are the most affordable to run, costing households around $770 per month.
  • The most expensive car to operate in Australia in 2020 was the Nissan Patrol Ti.
  • The 2020 costs for operating an electric vehicle in Australia added up to $1383.89 per month.
  • Sydney was the most expensive Australian capital for transport costs in 2019.
  • Audi is among the most expensive car brands in Australia.
  • The average family paid around $915 for fuel in Q4 2019.
  • Typical Australian families living in a major city paid around $355 in Q4 2019 for registration, CTP and licensing.
  • Buying a luxury car in Australia will cost you an additional 33% of the value in taxes.

General Car Running Costs Statistics

1. What’s the cost of owning a car in Australia?

(Budget Direct)

According to a 2020 Budget Direct article, the running costs of cars for an average two-car household amount to a yearly average of $16,912, which represents 13.8% of the average annual income in Australia. Note that drivers living in regional households pay $14,988 for yearly transport costs on average, while the average car running cost for metropolitan households adds up to a steeper sum of $18,596.

2. The average two-car household pays around $130 per week in car loan payments.

(Budget Direct)

Car loan payments may vary depending on your living location within the country. While major city households pay an average weekly rate of $130.90 for loans on car ownership in Australia, regional households pay a slightly lesser sum of $130.85 on average.

3. The cost for roadside assistance amounted to a weekly average of $2.08 in 2019.

(Budget Direct)

Roadside assistance crews help drivers with minor issues, such as mechanical repairs, flat tyres, vehicle towing, battery problems and emergency refuelling. While calculated on a weekly basis, this fee is paid as a one-time annual cost. Furthermore, roadside assistance providers offer the same standard fees countrywide—helping drivers across the nation avoid serious vehicle accidents and other higher costs.

4. The stamp duty for the Toyota Hilux is the lowest in the Northern Territory.

(Savings)

How much is stamp duty on a car?

This stamp duty tax is calculated based on the state where you purchase the vehicle, its condition and its purchase price. To illustrate, the stamp duty for the most popular car in Australia—the Toyota Hilux—would amount to $2,265 at the median market value, if purchased in West Australia, but $1,780 if purchased in Victoria. If you buy the same car in the Northern Territory, on the other hand, you would pay $1,272 in stamp duty or the smallest amount across all states.

5. SUVs were the most rented type of vehicles in Australia in 2018.

(Ken Research)

According to recent research, SUVs were the top pick for car rentals in Australia due to their higher passenger capacity and suitability for family and corporate commutes.

As shown by recent car running costs statistics, the Australian car rental market is estimated to be growing, with a regular year-on-year growth rate. Latest trends show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 0.8% regarding the market’s fleet size and an increase of 2.8% in rental revenue between 2013 and 2018

Car Running Costs Statistics in Australia

6. Light cars are the most affordable to run, costing households around $770 per month.

(RoyalAuto)

What car has the lowest running cost?

According to a 2020 RoyalAuto survey, drivers spent the least on light and small cars. While owning and running a light car would cost a monthly average of $770.16, the expenses for a small vehicle amounted to $928.64 per month, averaged over five years.

7. All-terrain vehicles are the most expensive to run, with monthly costs accruing up to $1804.61 on average. 

(RoyalAuto)

The 2020 car running costs comparisons in Australia revealed that the priciest category of vehicles to maintain and run were all-terrain four-wheel-drive vehicles. These guzzlers cost their owners a little over $1804 per month. The second most expensive type of vehicle to run was the 4×4 light commercial pick-up with monthly costs of $1590.56, while the third-priciest vehicle category was large SUVs with monthly running costs of $1432.98.

8. The Suzuki Baleno is the cheapest small car to operate, with monthly costs of around $707.

(RoyalAuto)

Motorists looking to spend as little as possible on a vehicle should look into some of the cheapest cars to run in Australia. For instance, the Suzuki Baleno cost an average of $707.21 a month to run in 2020. The Suzuki Swift, on the other hand, cost $33 more to maintain, while the Toyota Yaris Ascent was the least expensive vehicle with monthly maintenance costs of $744.97.

9. The most expensive car to operate in Australia in 2020 was the Nissan Patrol Ti.

(RoyalAuto)

Per the 2020 car maintenance costs provided by RoyalAuto, households that owned and ran the Nissan Patrol Ti spent a hefty sum of $2447.43 for its monthly operating costs. On the other hand, the Toyota LandCruiser GX – Nissan’s rival – could be run at a smaller monthly average of $2320.27.

10. The Hyundai Venue Go is the most affordable small SUV.

(RoyalAuto)

If you’re looking for the most economical SUV in Australia, the Hyundai Venue Go is a great choice, with average monthly costs of $851.22 in 2020. However, if you’re searching for a family-friendly SUV, you should consider the medium-sized Mitsubishi Outlander, which cost a monthly average of $1166.73. Drivers looking for the best-value 4×4 pick-up, on the other hand, should check out the Mitsubishi Triton GLX with monthly maintenance costs of $1340.98, 

11. The 2020 costs for operating an electric vehicle in Australia added up to $1383.89 per month.

(RoyalAuto)

Cost-wise, electric and hybrid vehicles fall somewhere in the middle, with operating fees estimated at around $1380 in 2020—$30 more than people-movers. Moreover, as the EV market in Australia is slowly saturating with new EV models, the cost of running an electric car is expected to decrease.

12. Sydney was the most expensive Australian capital for transport costs in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

If you are wondering about the cost of owning a car in Sydney, a recent survey by the Australian Automobile Association reports that households ran their vehicles at a weekly average of $427.90 in Q4 2019, which amounted to 14,4% of their total income. Therefore, the yearly average to maintain a vehicle in Sidney added up to $22,251, making it the most expensive Australian city for transport expenses.

Compared to Sydney, regional cities in New South Wales are fairly affordable for drivers. For instance, Wagga Wagga households paid up to $13,601.50 in yearly transport costs or 9.7% of their total household income in 2019.

13. Melbourne was the second most-expensive city to operate a car in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

The same 2020 Transport Affordability Index reports that Melbourne was the second-priciest Australian city for vehicle operation, with a yearly average of $20,865.73 recorded in Q4 2019. Melbourne’s weekly car maintenance costs added up to $401.26 in Q4 2019, representing 15.3% of the total average household income.

In Victoria’s regional zones, transport costs are similarly lower since they amounted to around 12.2% of the 2019 average household income. The most expensive regional city in Victoria for drivers was Geelong, whose inhabitants spent an average yearly car budget of $13,601.50.

14. Queensland’s most expensive city was Brisbane in 2019, with yearly vehicle maintenance costs of $20,582.23.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

The cost of owning a car in Brisbane included a weekly fee of $395.81 in Q4 2019 or 16.4% of the total average household income, making Brisbane the third most-expensive city for car owners. 

The report also tells us that Townsville’s citizens paid $13,960.44 in car maintenance costs in 2019, representing the highest percentage of the average total household income of all regional cities in Queensland.

15. Operating a car in Western Australia’s Perth cost a yearly average of $17,993.95 in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

Per the AAA car running costs statistics, motorists in Perth paid almost $18,000 in transport costs in 2019, amounting to an income share of 14.1%. The state’s smaller cities, on the other hand, were less expensive for drivers, with a regional average of 13.1% of the total household income. In Bunbury, for example, households had to pay up to $15,668.64 in transport costs in 2019.

16. The average car operation cost in Adelaide, South Australia, was $16,896.91 in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

The cost of owning a car in Adelaide in 2019 was $614.29 higher than in 2018, amounting to 14.1% of the total household income. Compared to the state’s capital, motorists in Mount Gambier had lower transport costs that year of up to $14,880.54, amounting to 13.9% of their total income in Q4 2019.

17. Operating a vehicle in Tasmania’s Hobart would cost you $16,166.64 in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

Hobart households paid an average car maintenance cost per year of $16,166.64 in 2019, representing 16.8% of the total average household income and an increase of $419.53 since 2018. Tasmania’s Launceston, on the other hand, is a regional city with yearly transport costs of up to $14,815.88, or 16.9% of the total average household income—the highest rate of all regional towns in Australia.

18. Driving your car in Darwin cost around $16.530 in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

The running costs of cars in the Northern Territory are the highest in Darwin, with yearly fees of up to $16,529.86. Darwin drivers had to pay $152.95 more than the previous year, which counted for 13.8% of the average household earnings. In comparison, the state’s most significant regional city, Alice Springs, reported yearly transport costs of $15,887.16, amounting to 13.8% of drivers’ total income.

19. Canberra’s households paid an average of $17,478.65 in car running costs in 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

According to current car running cost statistics, Canberra experienced a decrease of $34.45 in transport costs from 2018, amounting to 12.3% of the average total household income in 2019. Note that the relatively small size of the Capital Territory did not allow for a significant differentiation between its various suburbs.

20. The Northern Territory was the most expensive state for both diesel and petrol in 2020.

(Budget Direct) (Canstar Blue)

The average petrol cost per month in Australia was $143.54 in 2017, according to a survey conducted by Canstar Blue.

Diesel cost $1.658 per litre in the Northern Territory, whereas the price for a litre of petrol was $1.660, making this state the most expensive to fill up. The second most-expensive state for petrol prices was Western Australia, where you would pay $1.281 for a litre of petrol fuel and $132.80 to fill a full tank.

However, Western Australia is the third-priciest state for diesel fuel, after Tasmania, with diesel costs of $1.310 per litre, amounting to $104.80 to fill your tank, as stated by the car running costs statistics of the 2020 Budget Direct report.

South Australia was the most affordable state for diesel fuel prices, with $1.166 per litre and $93.31 to fill your tank in 2020. However, drivers purchasing petrol fuel could find the lowest prices in Victoria, where they could fill a full tank for only $92.44.

The petrol and diesel fuel prices for the remaining states are listed below:

State/TerritoryPetrol (litre/tank)Diesel (litre/tank)
Northern Territory$1.660 / $132.80$1.658 / $132.63
Western Australia$1.281 / $102.48$1.290 / $103.20
Tasmania$1.237 / $98.97$1.310 / $104.80
Australian Capital Territory$1.220 / $97.60$1.220 / $97.60
Queensland$1.205 / $96.41$1.190 / $95.20
New South Wales$1.203 / $96.21$1.230 / $98.40
South Australia$1.190 / $95.20$1.166 / $93.31
Victoria$1.155 / $92.44$1.200 / $96.00

21. Australians spent an average of $40,128 on new cars in 2020.

(Canstar Blue)

According to the latest Canstar Blue survey, buying a car in Australia costs $40.128 on average. Drivers buying small cars paid $27,092 on average, while new sedans usually cost around $37,850. Finally, SUVs featured an average price of $41,697 in 2020.

22. Tasmania had the highest average cost for new cars in 2020.

(Canstar Blue)

Per the same survey, Tasmania Aussies pay an average of $47.635 for a new vehicle, followed by Queensland with $42,266 and Victoria with $41,327. On the other hand, the cheapest new car in Australia can be found in South Australia, where motorists pay an average of $36,647. The second- and third-cheapest new vehicles can be purchased in Western Australia and New South Wales, with an average spend of $38,519 and $38,665, respectively.

23. Audi is among the most expensive car brands in Australia.

(Canstar Blue)

Audi offered the most expensive car models in 2020, with an average cost of $80,975. The second most-expensive cars were offered by Mercedes with an average price tag of $80,042, and BMW with an average cost of up to $67,484.

Suzuki was estimated to be the cheapest new car in Australia with a price tag of only $19,032, followed by Hyundai and Honda, with average car costs of $27,881 and $28,971, respectively, making these brands the most economical cars in Australia.

The average car price in Australia for the other vehicle brands as reported by Canstar Blue in 2020 are listed below:

  • Kia – $29,176
  • Mazda – $32,681
  • Nissan – $34,175
  • Subaru – $35,573
  • Holden – $36,642
  • Mitsubishi – $37,607
  • Toyota – $39,187
  • Volkswagen – $36,999
  • Ford – $41,337

24. Sports cars featured the highest average cost in 2020.

(Canstar Blue)

Per the car running costs statistics provided by the same report, sports cars were the most expensive to purchase in 2020, with an average price tag of $92,099. The second-priciest vehicle model type was 4-wheel drive cars, with an average cost of $60,376, followed by utility trucks at $50,523. 

The cheapest cars to buy, on the other hand, are small vehicles with an average car cost of $27,092, followed by sedans and SUVs, priced at $37,846 and $41,697, respectively.

25. The average costs to run an EV amounted to around $320 per week in 2019.

(RoyalAuto)

Тhe cost of running an electric car in Australia is still relatively high. The average expenses to own and run a battery-powered electric vehicle in Australia ran up to $319.30 per week in 2019. However, once we exclude the two most expensive electric models, the Tesla Model X and Model S, the weekly costs decrease to a $242 average.

26. Battery charging costs for electric vehicles round up to an average of $11.70 per week.

(RoyalAuto) (Canstar Blue)

While electric vehicles are still an expensive purchase with high initial buying prices, they are becoming a valuable investment since their running costs are steadily decreasing. For instance, while the average fuel costs for a medium SUV was around $28.40 in 2019, electric vehicles could be driven for as little as $11.70 per week.

Note that EVs require less servicing than their fuel-powered counterparts since they are built with fewer moving parts. Therefore, electric cars are generally the cheapest cars to repair in Australia. However, additional costs of up to $3000 might also apply, such as those for the battery recharge and the installation of charging systems.

27. Replacing the battery in an EV could cost you between $2,000 and $12,000.

(Canstar Blue)

While EV batteries are offered with lengthy warranty periods, they still might need to be replaced, as shown by the latest car maintenance costs. Depending on your car type, battery size and whether or not you are within your warranty period, you might need to pay up to $12,000 for the replacement procedure. For instance, Nissan lists the following prices for car battery replacement:

  • 24kWh: $7,950
  • 30kWh: $9,780
  • 40kWh: $10,000

Note that car battery costs may decrease with the continuing diversification of the EV market as new and varied brands come to market.

28. Premium car insurance for EVs was, on average, 52% more expensive than the petrol alternative.

(Budget Direct)

According to a Canstar research comparing insurance prices for two Hyundai models, an electric one and a petrol model, comprehensive care insurance premiums turned out to be twice as expensive for electric vehicles. The average car insurance cost in Australia mostly depends on the initial price of the vehicle. Thus, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric Elite, which costs around $13,000 more than the Elantra Sport Premium, had comprehensive insurance premiums that were 52% steeper than those for the petrol-powered vehicle.

29. A novel EV road tax to be implemented in South Australia starting July, 2021.

(Car Advice) (The Guardian)

South Australia is imposing the world’s first-ever road tax for electric vehicles, followed by Victoria and possibly other Australian states, which would add up in car maintenance costs. The main reason behind this tax is the government’s plan to spend $18 million on car battery charging stations.

At present, 42.3 cents from a litre of diesel or petrol go to the Federal government, 40%–50% of which are used for national infrastructures. Electric vehicle drivers are exempt from this cost since they do not purchase traditional fuel. With the new EV tax, drivers would have to pay a fixed yearly levy and a distance-travelled fee, charged annually based on the vehicle odometer reading.

On the other hand, the government of Victoria is devising road taxes of 2.5c/km for EVs and 2c/km for hybrid vehicles, thus increasing the electric car running costs per km. This decision has caused controversy and outrage among experts, who predict a 25% decrease in the share of electric vehicles in the Australian market should the tax be implemented.

30. The average monthly cost of owning a hybrid vehicle is $1383.89.

(RoyalAuto) (CarsGuide)

A 2020 RoyalAuto survey revealed an average monthly cost of $1383.89 to run a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The Driving Your Dollars survey considered the vehicle purchase price, registration and insurance costs, and various servicing fees.

The cheapest hybrid car in Australia is currently the Toyota Corolla Hybrid at $27,395 plus on-road expenses. While we’re at it, how much does an electric car cost? The cheapest electric car is currently the MG ZS EV which costs $40,990.

 How much do Australians spend on car maintenance?

31. The average family paid around $915 for fuel in Q4 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

Toward the overall running costs of cars, the typical metropolitan household had to pay an average weekly rate of $76.23 for fuel, which added up $914.76 in the last quarter of 2019. The average family living in regional areas, on the other hand, had to pay slightly steeper weekly costs of $79.82.

32. Typical Australian families living in a major city paid around $355 in Q4 2019 for registration, CTP and licensing.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Budget Direct)

According to the AAA, the mandatory registration, licensing and CTP costs added up to an average of $29.53 in 2019’s last quarter for families living in metropolitan areas. Regional households, on the other hand, had to pay $1.61 less per week. The costs, of course, vary depending on your living location. For instance, the average weekly CTP, licence and registration fees for Australia’s capitals in Q4 2019 are listed below:

  • Canberra – $37.31
  • Melbourne – $33.17
  • Adelaide – $26.69
  • Perth – $31.87
  • Darwin – $29.97
  • Brisbane – $29.74
  • Sydney – $24.79
  • Hobart – $22.73

33. Sydney has the highest road toll cost, at $84.60 per week.

(Budget Direct)

In addition to all other car running costs in Australia, drivers living in New South Wales’s, Victoria’s, or Queensland’s major cities also have to pay road toll costs. The 2020 Budget Direct research revealed that Sydney motorists had to pay $84.60 in weekly road toll fees. Melbourne and Brisbane drivers, on the other hand, had to pay a weekly average of $50.80 and $51.90, respectively.

34. Regional households pay $1.55 less per week for tyres.

(Budget Direct)

The car maintenance costs covering tyres will vary depending on the amount of wear and tear they accrue over time. Metropolitan households are subject to higher prices, on average, paying $29.41 per week in tyre servicing costs, while regional families generally have to pay an average of $27.86.

35. The most affordable tyres in Australia cost between $79 and $95 in 2020.

(Canstar Blue)

The cheapest car tyres you can find in Australia cost around $80, belonging to budget brands such as Diamondback, Achilles and Boto. If you’re looking for premium tyre sets, on the other hand, you might need to add at least $120 to your car maintenance costs for brands such as Michelin or Pirelli.

36. The average metropolitan family paid almost $300 for comprehensive insurance in Q4 2019.

(Australian Automobile Association) (Canstar)

According to data as recent as Q4 2019, the typical household living in one of the country’s capitals was paying a weekly average of $24.87 for comprehensive insurance coverage. Per the latest AAA calculations, Melbourne had to pay the highest $32.87 sum for comprehensive car insurance, followed by Darwin with $32.50 and Adelaide with $27.38. Regional households, on the other hand, had to pay a weekly average of $19.73.

37. Australia was the most expensive country for parking in 2019.

(Savings)

The Parkopedia 2019 Global Parking Index reported that Australia held first place with the highest parking fees in the world. The 2019 average daily rate of USD 29.71 marked an increase of 6.6% since 2017. The top three most expensive Australian cities for parking were Sidney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with average daily rates of $44.39, $35.52, and $35.36, respectively.

38. Buying a luxury car in Australia will cost you an additional 33% of the value in taxes.

(Australian Taxation Office)

Buying a car in Australia that surpasses the Luxury Car Tax threshold attracts a tax rate of 33%. The LCT value includes the worth of any car parts, accessories or attachments, acquired simultaneously as the vehicle.

The LCT threshold is currently at $77,565 for fuel-efficient vehicles and $68,740 for other vehicles, marking a significant increase since 2019/20 when the threshold was $75,526 for fuel-efficient cars and $67,525 for other vehicles.

39. Drivers in South Australia currently pay the least in car repair costs.

(One Flare)

The average car service cost in Australia varies based on several factors, such as the driver’s living location, vehicle type and model and accrued mileage. For instance, based on the state of residence, drivers in the ACT generally pay $200 to $250, while those driving in New South Wales pay around $160 to $240. The lowest vehicle repair costs were reported in South Australia at $139 to $190.

Note that mileage also affects the amount of money you pay for services. For example, Ford Fiesta owners would pay $275 if their vehicle travelled 15,000 km and $375 at 60,000 km.

Car Running Costs Trends

40. The latest 2020 census reports 19.8 million motor vehicles registered in Australia.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The highest increase in vehicle registrations was noted for light rigid trucks, with 5.8% more registrations than in 2019, followed by campervans with a 3.5% increase and light commercial vehicles with a 2.8% increase. The lowest increase in the number of registrations in 2020 was recorded for non-freight carrying vehicles with a 0.7% increase, and buses, with a 1.1% increase.

41. Time spent at home increased, while car travel declined during Covid-19 lockdowns.

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

The 2020 Google Community Mobility Report showed a significant drop in travel amid the March and April lockdowns. For instance, commuting to work declined around 80, followed by transit stations and retail and recreation travel. These car running costs statistics also show that time spent at home increased by about 35% in April 2020. In contrast, grocery and pharmacy visits rose by around 30% in March but experienced a drop of approximately 60% in April.

42. The highest decline in car travelling in July 2020 was recorded in Melbourne.

(University of Queensland)

Car usage in Melbourne in July 2020 remained at a drop of 50% since January 2020, while driving in other large cities has recovered and exceeded its pre-pandemic levels. For instance, Brisbane (25%), Sydney (22%), Perth (17%) and Adelaide (13%) saw significant increases in vehicle usage amid the lockdowns.

43. Car travel in Australia fell by 50% during Covid-19 restrictions.

(National Center for Biotechnology Information) (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

According to a 2020 study, 66% of respondents reported they used their vehicles half as much during the Covid-19 lockdowns. However, 8% of interviewees said they increased their vehicle usage, while 15% answered that their driving habits did not change. The study also notes that female drivers were more likely to report a decrease in vehicle usage, whilst low income or younger households generally said they have not yet considered buying a car in Australia.

Bottom Line

Driving your own car allows you to travel freely to your desired destination while avoiding crowded public transport. Personal motor vehicles also let you plan your time in a more efficient and time-saving manner. For instance, going to work or your local grocer is a piece of cake when you have a motor vehicle at your disposal. Not to mention all those fun road trips that you could be enjoying with your friends and family!

However, the convenience that cars offer comes at a price, which may vary based on factors such as your chosen vehicle type, fuel you use, driving habits, insurance plan, and many more. With fuel prices fluctuating and licence, registration and insurance costs increasing, operating a car in Australia can be kinda exy!

We hope these car running costs statistics have helped you decide whether or not to go car shopping this season. Walking is good exercise as well, right?

Sources:

  1. Australian Automobile Association
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics
  3. Australian Taxation Office
  4. Budget Direct
  5. Budget Direct
  6. Budget Direct
  7. Canstar
  8. Canstar
  9. Canstar Blue
  10. Canstar Blue
  11. Canstar Blue
  12. Canstar Blue
  13. Car Advice
  14. CarsGuide
  15. Ken Research
  16. National Center for Biotechnology Information
  17. One Flare
  18. RoyalAuto
  19. RoyalAuto
  20. RoyalAuto
  21. RoyalAuto
  22. Savings
  23. Savings
  24. The Guardian
  25. University of Queensland

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