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Affordable Transport

Transport is a major cost for Australian households. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimates that over $30 billion was collected from motorists through a range of taxes and charges levied by all Australian governments in 2015-16.

Unlike energy or gas bills, there are many costs associated with transport meaning the true impact on a family budget is not always well understood. The AAA is focused on ensuring Australians get the best possible deal on transport, that they get value for money and have fair access to a range of transport options, including public transport.

Transport Affordability Index

The AAA Transport Affordability index analyses the costs of transport in capital cities and across regional household in every state and territory, except the Australian Capital Territory. It provides a snapshot of the costs of transport for typical households in Australia.

This Index is regularly updated to show how transport costs move over time relative to incomes. The characteristics of the household reflect the most common or average characteristics of the population. In some cases, household characteristics have been chosen to ensure some typical transport costs are well illustrated, while still being representative. The hypothetical household is largely identical to allow for ready comparison. The Index includes a full range of costs families face when they own a car as well as public transport costs.

The December 2017 index shows Australian metropolitan households are spending $17,606 annually on transport costs. The figure accounts for 14.2 per cent of city household income.

View the latest Transport Affordability Index

Emission standards

In October 2015, the Australian Government established a Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions to examine the introduction of noxious emission regulations (Euro 6), a CO2 standard for new light vehicles, and new fuel quality standards.

The AAA supports measures that deliver abatement at the least possible cost, which do not restrict vehicle choice, and are appropriate for Australian conditions. The AAA has supported changes to standards for CO2, noxious emissions and fuel quality.

The AAA has been actively working with stakeholders to develop a proposal to all three issues, which would allow the Government to achieve its environmental objectives over a timeframe and minimise the costs to consumers.

Safety shouldn’t be a luxury

The average age of Australia’s light vehicle fleet has remained static over the past 10 years and is high compared to international peers.

This can partly be attributed to tariffs and taxes designed to protect Australia’s now-closed car manufacturing industry. These taxes are forecast to add $5 billion to the price of new cars over the forward estimates. The AAA has advocated for the removal of tariffs on new imported vehicles as they are no longer required to protect the industry.

The AAA has also called for the removal of other taxes such as the luxury car tax which adds to the cost of newer, safer cars. Lowering the cost of new cars is one step that can help improve safety on our roads.

Cost of fuel

The AAA and its member clubs support motorists by regularly providing information around fuel price changes and by publishing longer term trends. The AAA has called for greater transparency in the fuel market so Australians can access the data they need to make informed choices.

The AAA supports the continued role of the ACCC in monitoring fuel prices.  

The increased monitoring activity has greatly benefited consumers and there have been signs the investigations into regional markets including Darwin, Launceston, Armidale and Cairns, have led to an overall improvement.