Driving Australia Towards 2020

Written by on April 16, 2019

By: Rebecca Hall

There are 4 vehicles for every 5 Australians

New data shows Australians are attached to their vehicles. In 2018, our population of 25 million residents owned a total 19 million vehicles according to the latest ABS Survey of Motor Vehicle Use.

Our national fleet is made up of:

  • 14,258,620 passenger vehicles (75%)
  • 3,788,395 freight vehicles (19.9%) and
  • 965,754 buses, motor cycles and non-freight carrying trucks (5.1%).

Car ownership increasing despite Uber and GoGet

Australia has continued to increase car ownership rates over this decade, which has seen many new technology trends. Even the rise of Uber (launched in 2012) and GoGet (founded back in 2003) as ride services and car sharing services have not reduced car ownership rates despite trends towards an increasingly shared economy.

In 2010 Australia’s population was 22.0 million people and we had 12.3 million cars (0.56 cars per person) which has risen to 0.57 car per person in 2018. That’s 2 million more cars in the last 8 years, or a quarter of a million new cars each year on our roads!

Year Population Passenger vehicles Car ownership %
2010 22.0 million 12.3 million 56.0%
2018 25.0 million 14.3 million 57.1%

In this survey of 16,000 vehicle owners, the results revealed that our 19 million vehicles covered 255,031 million kilometres at an average of 13,423kms per vehicle in the last year alone.

Victorians travel the most in their cars

Victorians travelled an average of 14,100kms on average in the last year, leading the states and territories for the most kilometres driven over the year. Second is QLD drivers (13,700kms), followed by NT (13,400kms) and NSW (13,300kms).

Petrol guzzlers

We used 34,170 megalitres of fuel with 51.4% petrol and 45.8% diesel over the 12 months from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

  • That’s 17.5 billion litres of petrol
  • 7 billion litres of diesel
  • Just 1.0 billion litres of LPG/CNG/Hybrid/dual fuel/other.

The future of car ownership trends

Car ownership will not decline until city-building designs shifts away from ‘crawl and sprawl’ models of town planning. As Sydney and Melbourne move towards 30-minute and 20-minute cities respectively, people will have access to new public transport infrastructure, meaning car ownership rates could decline. When people live in vertical communities with safe walkable access to cafes and restaurants, and most importantly have access to reliable public transport networks, then we’ll see car ownership start to decline in our major cities.

The arrival of electric cars, increasing access to walkable communities through proposed infrastructure development over the next decade of $75b and ride share apps will also impact the current trends. We may even see shifts towards healthier, more active methods of transport (such as riding bicycles, walking) in vibrant urban cities as we approach 2030.

Article supplied with thanks to McCrindle.

About the Author: McCrindle are a team of researchers and communications specialists who discover insights, and tell the story of Australians – what we do, and who we are.


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