Transport Affordability

Household transport costs surge as families spend more to commute

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  • Household transport costs rise $44 per week since start of the year
  • Typical household now spending 14.6 per cent of budget on transport
  • Largest single quarter cost increase since Transport Affordability Index 2016 creation

Research from the nation’s peak motoring body shows household transport costs rose steeply in the first three months of 2021 with the typical household now spending 14.6 per cent of income on transport.

The Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA) latest Transport Affordability Index  shows the average household spent $354 per week on transport in the first quarter of 2021, which is $44 more than the previous quarter. This 14.3 per cent increase represents the largest quarterly jump since the Index was established in 2016.

Managing Director of the AAA, Michael Bradley said: “this sharp rise in transport costs needs to be monitored by governments, which need to avoid polices and decisions that impact cost of living.

“Transport affordability needs to remain a priority for government, as Australia has not only just recorded the largest jump in transport costs since the affordability index commenced, but households are now paying the highest proportion of their income toward those costs.”

The Index is a quarterly publication by the AAA that measures transport costs across all capital cities and a regional centre in each state and the Northern Territory.


The most expensive capital city was Sydney where the typical household spent $461.57 each week on transport costs, while Hobart was the most expensive in terms of the proportion of income spent on transport. The report showed regional Australia had experienced a similar rise to the capital cities with a typical regional household spending $315, up $44, each week on transport, compared to the previous quarter.

The index measures costs associated with car loan repayments, tolls, fuel, public transport, insurance, registration, roadside assistance and servicing. During the last quarter, the extra pressure on household budgets was driven by sharp increases in fuel prices, car loan repayments and, in some cases, registration costs.

The AAA represents more than 8.5 million Australians through its clubs, the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAA, RAC, RACT and AANT.

Media contact: Jake Smith
0403 466 153

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