Besides the purchase price of a car, there are really six main costs that can influence how much your car will truly cost you:
Below is a breakdown of the weekly average cost of running a car:
|Cost breakdown||Estimated cost ($)|
|2. Registration & licensing||$30.54|
|3. Car insurance||$24.63|
|4. Maintenance & service||$29.55|
|5. Car loan||$127.94|
*Calculated by RACQ based on Australia’s best-selling vehicle, the Toyota Hilux ute.
According to data from The Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA), maintenance and servicing costs the average household $23 a week, or $1,194 per year. This cost will vary based on different cars and it's driven, but you should factor this cost in when buying a new car.
If the costs of running a car have put you off owning one, you could consider renting instead of buying. There are several options out there you can try such as GoGet, which allows you to book cars to use for a specified period of time, Car Next Door that lets you borrow from people who are willing to rent out their own personal cars, while services like PopCar and Carbar operate as car subscription services where you pay a weekly or monthly fee for a nice new car.
When it comes to the different fuel types, it’s the number that really matters – 91, 95 and 98. These numbers are called the ‘octane-rating’, and are an indication of how well the fuel resists burning too early inside the car’s engine.
Standard petrol is given a 91 rating, while premium unleaded is both 95 and 98. There are also two ethanol-based fuels – E10 and E85 – which are more environmentally friendly options.
Below is a comparison of these petrol types, what they mean and how much they cost on average:
|Petrol type||What it means||Avg. cost ($)/L|
|Standard unleaded (91)||Most common type of fuel though less fuel efficient than the premium types.||$1.53|
|Premium 95-octane unleaded||Designed to be more fuel efficient and give a smoother engine operation, which in turns improves performance.||$1.58|
|Premium 98-octane unleaded||Highest octane unleaded fuel, providing higher engine power and performance as well as less pollution||$1.60|
|E10||Ethanol-based fuel; 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded petrol. More powerful than standard unleaded petrol but the presence of ethanol does mean it can be slightly less fuel efficient.||$1.54|
|E85||85% ethanol and 15% regular petrol. Powerful with less effect on the environment.||N/A|
The general rule of thumb is: the difference in fuel efficiency is about 1% per octane rating – 91 and 95 unleaded fuels, for example, have roughly a 4% difference. If there is a lesser price difference between the two, then it’s highly likely that it’s worth switching.
Other ways you can save more on fuel are: