Transport costs remain high, affordability low across Victoria in 2022

Flinders Street station at dusk

Tom Hounslow

Posted May 06, 2022

The weekly average for transport expense now sits at $447.83 per week for metropolitan households in Victoria, and $347.69 in regional areas.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has released the latest edition of the Transport Affordability Index for the first quarter of 2022.

While households in major cities will spend an average of $20,855 each year on transport costs, Melbourne sits well above the national average at $23,287. It’s a similar story, albeit to a lesser extent, for Geelong and regional areas of Victoria who now pay an annual average of $18,080 compared to the $17,195 nationally.

The Transport Affordability Index encapsulates all costs people face to fund their mobility, including loan repayments, insurance costs, maintenance, public transport fees, and the biggest problem of late - fuel costs.

“Rising fuel prices continue to be a significant contributor to cost of living pressures across both regional and metropolitan Australia,” said AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley

“Fuel costs have risen an average of $26.49 to $93.87 per week over the past twelve months in capital cities with Hobart ($100.18 pw), Sydney ($94.80 pw), Darwin ($94.36 pw) and Brisbane ($93.93 pw) the most expensive cities.”

“Regionally [fuel] costs are more expensive rising on average $27.89 to $96.65 per week with Bunbury ($116.31 pw), Geelong ($110.69 pw – Melbourne was $92.07) and Launceston ($109.37) the highest.”

With the latest figures covering January to March of 2022, it has not included the effects the temporary halving of the fuel excise tax has had which came into effect on March 29. 

People waiting at a tram stop

It's not just fuel prices that have gone up. Public transport fares in Victoria have also risen.

Victoria’s winners and losers

The latest Transport Affordability Index shows four key areas have increased in cost for Victorians since the start of the new year, including fuel expenses, insurance costs, public transport fees, and roadway tolls.

While costs such as vehicle registration, license fees, and roadside assistance were unchanged, the latest report isn’t all bad news for Victorians. Both car loan repayments and servicing costs declined, and according to the AAA, there’s one key reason for that.

While the global microchip shortage continues to create headaches for car manufacturers, dealerships, and car buyers as demand vastly outnumbers supply. As more buyers join the growing waiting lines for a new car, many car buyers are opting for cheaper models until the chip shortage is resolved.

“Car loan repayments is the main cost component that has declined across the country due to a greater proportion of new car buyers choosing cheaper vehicles.”

With more and more people buying cheaper models, this naturally has a flow-on effect on car repayments.


Traffic next to Albert Park Lake

Melbourne drivers paid an average of $92.07 per week in fuel costs in Q1 of 2022.

Victoria versus Australia

While Sydney and Bunbury in Western Australia claim the unwanted titles of Australia’s most expensive city and regional areas for transportation costs, Victoria is close behind.

While Sydney households will fork out an average of $474.43 per week for transport costs, Melburnians pay the second-most out of every major city across Australia at $447.83. Folk in Brisbane also pay a hefty $445.69.

After that, there is quite a steep decline for the other major cities including Canberra, Perth and Adelaide, Darwin, and Hobart all paying less than $381 per week.

While the costs may be high, it doesn’t hurt as much if the money coming into your home can make up for it.

Though Hobart may be the cheapest in terms of cost per week for transport ($354.45 per week), the seemingly cheap expense is doing the greatest amount of damage to the wallets of Hobart residents, comprising a whopping 17.9 per cent of their total income.

Though Sydney-siders was the most per week for transport, they only rank fifth for spending a portion of their income (15.1 per cent).

In what may be a new marketing angle for Geelong tourism, residents spent a mere 12.9 per cent of their income on transport, compared to the 16 per cent Melbournians pay – the third-highest proportion of anywhere in Australia.

Spare a thought for the residents of Launceston who pay 18.1 per cent of the income on transport costs – the largest portion of income seen anywhere in Australia.