How much does it cost to keep your car on the road?

Australian households are spending around $20,000 a year just to keep their cars on the road as tolls, insurance, and other costs continue to rise.

The Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA) latest Transport Affordability Index shows the average Australian family is now paying $17,464 per year in land transport costs, an increase of $686 since last year.

The Affordability Index is based on the transport costs of an average Australian household in each capital city and consists of a couple with children and two cars.

Sydneysiders are the worst hit with an average family paying $22,238 per year, which is up more than $800 dollars since last year.

A typical two-car Sydney household faces weekly transport costs of $428 — or $22,238 per year — ahead of Brisbane and then Melbourne at $19,629 and $18,889 per year respectively.

Tolls are a significant factor in rising prices in states like NSW, Victoria and QLD, while states such as WA were free of tolls for the time being.

Car insurance also plays a significant role in the costs of maintaining a car in these states.

Car insurance costs in NSW for a family comprehensive policy are on average, $2,345 per year – the highest in Australia.

State Annual Costs of Running a Car
NSW $22,238
VIC $18,889
QLD $19,629

*The most expensive states in Australia to run a car.

The price of fuel was a significant contributor to the overall increase in costs in 2017, up $226.

The average family now pays $1,035 in Government fuel excise each year, and for the first time, Government fuel excise increased to more than 40 cents per litre on 1 February 2017.

Some quick tips to keep your running costs down:


  • Find the right level of cover to suit your needs – that might be simple CTP or comprehensive.
  • Change your excess – if you’re a careful driver you might consider increasing your excess to reduce your annual premiums
  • Get the kids off the policy – if your kids are on your policy you are likely paying a higher premium than you might otherwise. Consider taking them off if they aren’t regular drivers of your car.


  • Make sure your car is serviced and keep those tyres pumped up – that way you’re car will drive optimally and you can save on fuel.
  • Drive in the correct gear. If you drive a manual make sure you’re not putting additional strain on the engine and using too much fuel.


  • Shop around for the best deal you can find on capped price servicing.
  • Keep it regular – be sure to keep your car well maintained and you’ll avoid big breakdowns and additional costs.

Car Insurance Insider

Works behind the scenes to ensure Australian drivers are aware of car insurance offers and revealing those secrets to cheaper car insurance.

Add comment