Transport is more expensive than you think

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) certainly raised a few eyebrows recently with its revelations about just how much it’s costing Australians to get around in their wide brown land, or at least around their suburbs.

The AAA’s Transport Affordability Index showed the average Australian family is spending up to $22,000/year on transport.

It’s a remarkable figure but what’s also surprising is the difference in costs between our most expensive cities and our cheapest. Sydneysiders win the unwanted gold medal for costs, with an average of $419/week compared to Hobart residents shelling out just $271/week. It pays to come last in some things.

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said the index demonstrates just how much of the household budget is taken up by transport costs.

“The Index initially shows around 13 per cent of an average household budget in most capital cities is spent on transport, which is remarkable when you consider that electricity, water, and telecommunications costs account for only one to three per cent of income combined,” Mr Bradley said.

The index is based on the incomes and transport expenses of a couple with children and two cars living in the outer suburbs, both employed with one adult using public transport. That may or may not reflect your situation, but at least the index establishes a consistent criterion for comparison across Australia that can be tracked over time.

Brisbane’s public transport costs are the nation’s highest, followed by Perth and Sydney. In fact Brisbane’s public transport costs are higher than its fuel costs. For Sydney and Melbourne residents, tolls are a significant cost, something that motorists outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane don’t have to worry about.

Loan payments the highest cost

Across Australia loan payments on new cars was consistently the highest cost. Fuel costs varied quite markedly over the study period, by as much as $4 per week in many states from quarter to quarter. The index showed that servicing both cars in Darwin cost almost 40% more than it did in Melbourne.

In its report the AAA says the contribution of taxes to motoring expenses, noting that in 2013-14 road-related taxes and charges came to almost $28 billion.

“It is difficult to identify another area of economic activity in Australia that is taxed as heavily as motoring,” the report noted.

Household total weekly transport costs quarter 2 2016*

Sydney
$419.06
Melbource
$348.49
Brisbane
$375.64
Perth
$300.99
Canberra
$299.61
Darwin
$286.28
Hobart
$271.17

*Source Transport Affordability Index, Australian Automobile Association

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Categories: Australia, Transport
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