Australian households ended 2020 with average weekly transport costs of $310, up just one dollar on the previous quarter and down $15 on the $325 recorded a year earlier. For the typical metropolitan household, this equates to a yearly transport expenditure of $17,864; and $14,118 for the typical regional household.
As a percentage of household income, the average cost of transport fell from 13.8 per cent at the end of 2019 to 12.5 per cent one year later.
This unusual story of improving transport affordability is explained by the Covid recession. With transport usage (public and private) significantly down due to the pandemic, Australians saved even more on getting around in 2020 than the report’s assumptions reflect.
Looking ahead, this temporary respite for household budgets is quickly coming to an end.
Traffic volumes in many places are reportedly already back to pre-pandemic levels. Fuel and toll use are again on the increase, as are the annual costs associated with insurance, registration and licensing, meaning the recent respite offered to Australian households is likely to have been short-lived.