Transport costs rise for Aussie households

·3-min read

Weekly transport costs for the average Australian metropolitan household have risen past $400 a week for the first time.

A peak motoring body study says regional areas have also been hit in the hip pocket, with the average Australian household paying $367.63 per week or 14.8 per cent of their income on transport costs - up almost $60 from last year.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA)'s latest affordability Index shows the cost of transport has gone up across all states and territories, with capital city households spending an average of $401.86 a week or 15.5 per cent of their income and $328.51 (14 per cent) over seven days in regional centres.

AAA says there are concerns rising fuel prices may blow out costs even further with their survey showing Australian motorists were likely to drive for both work and holidays in coming months as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

"Rising fuel prices are a significant contributor to rising costs across both regional and metropolitan Australia," AAA managing director Michael Bradley said.

"With a federal election and two state elections due next year, this report is a timely reminder that cost of living pressures are rising and that policies that further increase transport costs need to be avoided."

Fuel prices were the biggest contributor to increased transport costs with an average of $77.57 spent a week by households in capital cities (up $5.38 in the last quarter alone) and $79.26 a week in regional centres (up $5.16).

Tolls and maintenance were also factors while transport taxes, including fuel excise, registration, compulsory third party insurance and licensing - costs households $1579 (up $21 in the last quarter) a year in capital cities and $1503 (up $20) in regional centres.

Sydney is still the most expensive capital city with households coughing up $477.56 a month on transport ahead of Melbourne ($446.97), Brisbane ($444.05), Perth ($390.45), Canberra ($386.38), Adelaide ($362.36), Darwin ($356.96) and Hobart ($350.14).

In the state's regional areas, most expensive households were in Bunbury, WA ($348.25), Geelong ($343.12), Alice Springs ($341.87), Mount Gambier, SA ($325.48), Launceston ($321.63), Townsville ($309.84) and Wagga Wagga ($309.41).

While Hobart had the lowest total transport costs, when measured as a percentage of typical household income it was ranked as the last affordable capital city.

A Hobart household spends 17.5 per cent of their income on transport a week, just ahead of Brisbane (17.3 per cent), Melbourne (16.4 per cent), Sydney (15.5 per cent), Darwin (15.2 per cent), Perth (14.4 per cent), Adelaide (14.3 per cent) and Canberra (13.7 per cent).

In regional centres, Launceston (17.8 per cent of income spent on transport) was the least affordable ahead of Alice Springs (15.5 per cent), Mount Gambier (14.4 per cent), Bunbury (13.9 per cent), Geelong (13 per cent), Townsville (12.6 per cent) and Wagga Wagga (11 per cent).

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