According to a comprehensive new study by Savvy, the cost of owning a car in Australia is on the rise – even though 51% of households have access to two or more motor vehicles. In all, almost every adult Australian (on paper) owns a car – with 20.1 million registered vehicles across the country.

But how much do we spend on our cars, in terms of fuel, upkeep, and maintenance?

Almost 15% of our income services transport

The study highlighted that almost 15% (14.8%) of Australians' income (as a national average) is spent on transport costs. This is broken up into car loan repayments ($166.41), fuel ($78.36), and maintenance and tyres ($30.13).

This is on the rise since Q4 2020 – where costs increased from $309.92 per week to $367.63.

It's not all about fuel

Despite the hip pocket pain at the pump these days, Australia's petrol prices are weighted somewhere towards the middle compared with the rest of the world. Australian cars generally run on RON 91 (91 Octane) and pay an average $1.43 per litre. About 56c in that price is comprised of GST and excise. Compare this with the United States on $1.01 (AUD) which only pays a modest 19c in tax (though this varies from state to state – there is no national GST or VAT in the US, but states may charge their own.) Korean drivers are slugged $1.80 per litre; Japanese drivers $1.81. Our cousins across the Tasman pay almost $2 - $1.94 per litre.

Insurance costs also add up, with the average cost per week being about $25.76, or $1,340 per yearly premium.

Increasing car prices – but the silver lining in loans

The average car loan repayment per year is $8,653 over all of Australia, which means $43,265 over five years. However, due to the COVID pandemic, supply chain shortages, and inflation, prices are higher than ever. Savvy's Managing Director Bill Tsouvalas says that despite the higher prices, consumers can win out on lower car loan rates. "Car loan interest rates are at the lowest they're going to get in our lifetimes. If you are in the market for a car and don't mind waiting months to get behind the wheel of one, lock in a car loan as soon as you can – because it's the only way to save on the back end."