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The high cost of travel: In Sydney (part 1)

high cost of owning a car

The average household in Sydney pays more to get around by car and public transport than others in Australia. It spends a sizeable $474 per week ($24, 670 per year), which swallows 15% of average income. Meanwhile, other city households pay $20,855, compared to $17,195 per year in the regions. Most alarming for everyone is the high cost of fuel.

The AAA Index

These figures come from the latest quarterly Australian Automobile Association (AAA) Transport Affordability index.

The index is based on a hypothetical average couple with children. One adult uses public transport for commuting and the other drives to work, but uses toll roads only 2 days a week to save money. The index takes into account that NSW vehicle owners can get free vehicle registration under the Toll Relief Scheme.

Most striking in this first quarter of 2022 was the rising cost of fuel.

High cost of fuel

Average weekly fuel costs rose 40% in the 12 months to 31 March 2022.

The average price of regular unleaded petrol rose by 18.8 cents to 185.3 cents per litre, which cost Sydney households an extra $452 that year on fuel.

Hobart paid a full $100 a week for fuel alone, compared to $96.65 paid by regional motorists.

The continually rising cost of tolls is equally concerning.

Growing cost of toll roads

While Sydney has the highest weekly transport costs in Australia ($474), Melbourne is a distant second ($448) and Brisbane is a close third ($446). These cities have one thing in common: toll roads.

In Sydney, tolls increased by $37 per year to $89.64 per week or $4,661 per year. The steady march of toll increases is about to be the subject of a NSW government inquiry. It will investigate whether the current method of tolling is too confusing, haphazard, and particularly unfair to certain suburbs.

Registration, CTP and licensing

Canberra still pays the most for registration, CTP (green slip) and licensing. In this case, Hobart is the cheapest and Sydney is the second cheapest at $24.16 a week.

City March Quarter 2022 Ranking
Average $30.22  
Canberra $39.71 1
Melbourne $33.61 2
Perth $33.57 3
Darwin $30.74 4
Brisbane $30.34 5
Adelaide $27.01 6
Sydney $24.16 7
Hobart $22.62 8

However, government sources have recommended registration fees and fuel excise be scrapped and replaced with a road user charge. Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has also explored how a road user charge could work.
If it is time for you to register your car, find your cheapest green slip here.

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Corrina Baird

Writer and Researcher, greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years in financial services and over 8 years with greenslips.com.au, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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