It costs Sydneysiders more each week to pay for tolls than to buy fuel. Even though transport costs across Australia fell by 4% and fuel costs fell by 20% in the June quarter, the cost of tolls kept rising. If Sydney had no tolls, vehicle owners would save around $86 a week.
The AAA Transport Affordability index generates these figures each quarter using an imaginary household that owns two cars and uses public transport. Costs include car loan payments, registration and insurance, fuel, servicing, roadside assistance, public transport, and tolls (but not parking).
Tolls are expensive
In Sydney, tolls are the biggest factor in transport costs after car loan payments. Tolls make up 21% of travel costs ($405.70), or $85.76 per week. This is the second highest amount after car loan payments of $128.62 a week. For those who fully own their vehicles, tolls are the biggest slice.
If Sydney had no tolls, travel costs would be only $320 per week. This is closer to the Australian average weekly transport spend of $306 (Adelaide comes closest to the average at $302 per week). But tolls keep rising each quarter. They never go down, as other transport variables can, unless drivers stop using toll roads.
Fuel prices are low
Fuel prices are low and many households are saving around $34 a month compared to this time last year. During the June 2020 quarter, fuel prices in Australia fell by 20% to 113.5 cents per litre. If fuel prices were to stay that low, the average household would have another $727 in their pocket.
In Sydney, fuel was $58 per week or 14.3% of total spend on transport in the AAA Index. Drivers in Wagga Wagga spent $41 per week, 16.6% of their transport budget of $248 on fuel. Hobart is still the capital city with the highest fuel prices and fuel spend. At the other end is Perth, with the lowest fuel prices and fuel spend.
Meanwhile, Sydneysiders pay $50 a week for public transport. Since these figures were provided, Sydneysiders have started to drive more often again and are less likely to use public transport. Will this trend continue?
Also see Transport Affordability.