Car ownership strikes at hip pocket

It's no secret that Australians love their cars but new research from CommBank has revealed that Australians' love of driving comes at a high price. On average, Australian's fork out $3,854 to run and maintain their car each year not including the costs associated with loan repayments or car depreciation.

Transactional data shows that the cost of owning and running a car varies considerably depending on your postcode. Parking spend in WA is the highest in the country, while NSW road toll paying drivers spend $336 per annum on tolls, about 25% more than their nearest counterpart, VIC who spend $269 on tolls.

Location can also play a big part in registration costs. Queenslanders are paying the most, three times more than motorists in the NT and contributing to more than $3.6 billion in registration tax revenue.

CommBank Economist, Diana Mousina, says vehicle repair costs are also strongly influenced by geography: "Drivers in the NT and WA are paying considerably more on vehicle maintenance than those in the other states," she says.

"There are also significant spending pattern differences between motorists in metro and regional areas. Regional motorists visited service stations 40 times last yeas, compared to 33 times for metro motorists and spend almost $400 more than their city counterparts. Whereas city slickers spend almost double on road tolls."

Commbank Signals revealed that Queenslanders pay the most per person to run and maintain their cars, around  $4108 per customer per year. As a whole Aussies spend $152 million on parking their cars last financial year.

The study also revealed a range of other key trends across Australia regarding motoring costs;

When deciding between a large or small car, buyers who opt out of large cars in favour of a small car can see their bank balance improve by on average $2800 per year when including costs such as finance and depreciation. By choosing wisely there is potential to make significant weekly savings. Those planning to finance a new car this year should also be realistic about how much it will cost to service a car loan and make sure they compare and find the most competitive car loan for their situation.

"Our reliance on cars cannot be downplayed, especially in a country like Australia with vast distances. There will always be costs associated with running our cars, but by making sensible choices about vehicle type and taking advantage of simple, preventative maintenance, consumers can save money. By being aware of these costs, people can budget appropriately and manage cash flow across the year" says Mousina.