Aussie car love affair costing $2.8 billion every week

Roisin Kelly-Goldsmith

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Despite Aussies’ love affair with cars, keeping them on the road isn’t cheap. According to a new survey by RACV the average cost of running a car is setting drivers back $207.84 a week, a 1.6% increase from last year. With 13.8 million passenger vehicles registered on our roads this means our nation’s weekly car ownership bill sits at around $2.8 billion.

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RACV’s annual “Driving your Dollars” survey compared 137 popular vehicles and all the normal expenses associated with owning them such as the price tag, interest, servicing, new tyres, car insurance premiums and depreciation.

Manager of Vehicle Engineering at RACV, Michael Case, said that prices went up this year compared to the last largely due to a rise in on-road costs, increased interest rates, faster depreciation and the withdrawal of Australian-model Fords.

“But it isn’t all bad news for consumers. On average, new vehicles use 3.7 per cent less fuel, nulling the effect of higher petrol prices,” he added.

Cheapest vs most expensive cars

For the third year in a row the Suzuki Celerio was named the most budget-friendly at $100.78 per week, compared to the luxury Model X by Tesla which was the most expensive at $576.03. See the table below for other models making it into this year’s list:

How to bring the cost down

Case encouraged motorists to be savvy and beat the price rises by choosing a fuel efficient car and making the most of the drive-away price offers.

Additionally, while there are some costs required to run your car that you simply can’t avoid (whether it’s getting your car serviced or filling up at the servo), you do have control over your choice of car insurance policy, along with the car loan you opt to fund a new ride with.

Let’s say you’re looking to purchase the cheapest new car available, which according to RACV is the Suzuki Celerio where prices start from $13,990. If you finance it with a secured car loan on the average rate of 8.29%, your weekly loan repayments* would cost $66.

However, according to the Mozo Database, going with lowest secured loan at 5.14% by Heritage Bank would only set you back $61 each week. This may not seem like a big difference but over the life of the loan you would save $1,303.

And when it comes to saving on your car insurance premium, take stock. In Mozo’s latest car insurance mystery shop, we found that there can be a massive price difference between insurers for the same cover, car and driver living at the same address.

“Our message to anyone taking out or renewing their car insurance policy, is to simply shop around,” said Mozo’s spokesperson Kirsty Lamont.

“It really doesn’t take long to get a bunch of quotes, and it could mean hundreds of dollars worth in savings which you can put towards essentials like petrol or car rego.”

*Mozo calculations based on loans with 5 year terms where repayments are made on a weekly basis.

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