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City families spend $18,200 a year keeping car on the road, Australian Automobile Association finds

An average family in an Australian capital city spends almost $400 a week keeping their car on the road.

Transport costs – including petrol, registration and tolls – accelerated by 3.5 per cent in 2018, or almost double the 1.8 per cent inflation rate, the Australian Automobile Association has revealed.

Big city motorists pay an average of $350 a week.

The annual $18,227 cost of running a car is enough to buy a brand new small hatchback like a Suzuki Swift or a Mazda2.

Sydney families pay 17.5 per cent more, on average, than motorists in other parts of metropolitan Australia to drive in a city with some of the world’s dearest toll roads.

An average family in an Australian capital city spends more than $18,200 a year keeping their car on the road. Sydney motorists (pictured) spend $22,100 a year on motoring

An average family in an Australian capital city spends more than $18,200 a year keeping their car on the road. Sydney motorists (pictured) spend $22,100 a year on motoring 

The AAA, the umbrella group for the NRMA, RACV and RACQ, calculated Australian households last year spent 14.4 per cent of their income on their car.

Metropolitan households spent $350 a week, on average, to maintain a vehicle and catch public transport.

Sydney families pay significantly more at $425 a week or $22,108 year, making it Australia’s most expensive city to run a car.

This was significantly higher than Melbourne’s $20,115 annual bill for having a car, which works out at $387 a week. 

Transport costs - including petrol, registration and tolls - accelerated by 3.5 per cent in 2018, or almost double the 1.8 per cent inflation rate (Sydney's Bradfield Highway pictured)

Transport costs – including petrol, registration and tolls – accelerated by 3.5 per cent in 2018, or almost double the 1.8 per cent inflation rate (Sydney’s Bradfield Highway pictured)

Brisbane motorists spent $19,845 a year, or $381 a week, making it more expensive than Perth, where it costs $17,831 a year or $343 a week to drive.

Adelaide families are up for $16,283 annual or $313 a week.

How much does it cost to run a car a week?

Car loan repayments: $122.43

Registration/licensing: $28.14

Insurance: $25.51 

Servicing/tyres: $29.20

Petrol: $74.25

Public transport: $60.84

Tolls: $82.68

Roadside assistance: $2.12

TOTAL: $425.17 

Source: Australian Automobile Association’s  Transport Affordability Index for the December quarter. Figures above relate to Sydney

Hobart residents paid the lowest weekly bill of $303, equating to $15,756 a year, even though it had Australia’s highest unleaded price of 161.8 cents a litre.

Regional households spent $14,660 on transport in 2018, or $282 a week, which worked out at 12.7 per cent of their take-home pay.

Car costs in country areas rose by 4.7 per cent last year, or by more than two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation. 

They spent 12.7 per cent of their income on transport, with the AAA calculating car running costs in Wagga Wagga, Geelong, Townsville, Bunbury, Mount Gambier, Launceston and Alice Springs.

This was a 4.7 per cent jump from the previous year.

The Royal Automotive Club of Queensland’s manager of vehicle engineering Michael Case said insurance, registration, serving, maintenance and tyres were also major costs of running a car.

‘Most people attribute the costs mainly to what they see on a regular basis, such as filling the car up with fuel, and they think that’s what it’s costing to operate a vehicle. But there are many other costs,’ he told Melbourne radio station 3AW. 

The annual $18,227 cost of running a car is enough to buy a brand new small hatchback like a Suzuki Swift (more upmarket model pictured) or a Mazda2

The annual $18,227 cost of running a car is enough to buy a brand new small hatchback like a Suzuki Swift (more upmarket model pictured) or a Mazda2

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