Car Costs Calculated h1

Car Costs Calculated

Filed under Information Centre

Car costs can add up quickly and sneakily. As many car buyers find out, it’s not just the purchase price that impacts a hip pocket.

We add up and compare some average car costs in Australia.

What car costs?

It’s a long list: stamp duty, registration, fuel, servicing, depreciation, tyres.

Car costs depend on a lot of things, so we’ll look at the average car in Australia to get a ballpark idea. The way you actually drive your car makes a huge impact on the costs, as does your care and maintenance.

So, what is the average car in Australia?

Below are some car stats that give us a picture of the average car.

Average age of vehicle in Australia

10.1 years

Average rate of fuel consumption across all Australian vehicles

11.1 L/100km

Average km / year driven by Australian motorists

13,300 km per year

Brand with most registrations

Toyota (for the 16th consecutive year)

State with most registrations

NSW (5.892 million registered vehicles)

Most common fuel type

Petrol (71.7%)

Most common body type in 2020

SUV (49.6%)

Average used vehicle price Australia

$30,000 (mid 2021)

Best selling cars in Australia

Taking into account the current average age of vehicles in Australia is 10.1 years old;

-2010 best sellers-
1: Holden Commodore
2: Toyota Corolla
3: Toyota Hilux

-2011 best sellers-
1: Mazda 3
2: Holden Commodore
3: Toyota Corolla

Moving to the present

-2020 best sellers-
1: Toyota Hilux
2: Ford Ranger
3: Toyota RAV4

-August, 2021-
1: Toyota Hilux
2: Ford Ranger
3: Toyota Corolla

For our examples today, we’ll take;

  • 2011 Toyota Kluger Grande Auto (AWD). Rough cost: $28,000
  • 2015 Toyota Corolla Ascent Auto. Rough cost: $17,000



The Toyota Kluger we’re looking at is an AWD with a 7-seat capacity. Klugers are a vehicle of choice for families who like getting out and about on weekends.

It features a 3.5L V6 petrol engine. Considered a larger mid-size SUV, the Kluger is a popular, cheaper alternative to its siblings, the Prado and LandCruiser models.


Being the world’s most popular car, the Corolla is a win for many drivers. It offers reliable fuel efficient and comfortable driving.

The one we’re looking at comes in FWD and is powered by a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine. The 5-door hatch seats 5 people.

Both cars run on 91 unleaded petrol.

Car Costs Per Year


This means how much value (dollars) they’ll lose as the years, kilometres and wear and tear adds up.

These are estimates as resale value also depends a lot on condition.

Price new today

  • Kluger Grande AWD: Around $79,600
  • Corolla Ascent Sport Hatch: Around $28,500

Approx. price after 5 years

  • Kluger Grande AWD: Around $42,000 (47.2% decrease in price)
  • Corolla Ascent Sport Hatch: Around $19,500 (31.5% decrease in price)

Approx. price after 10 years

  • Kluger Grande AWD: Around $25,000 (68.6% decrease in price from new)
  • Corolla Ascent Sport Hatch: Around $9,500 (66.6% decrease in price from new)

This means that the Kluger is losing around $5,460 per year on average and the Corolla is losing around $1,583 per year on average. As this isn’t technically ‘costing’ money each year, and vehicles don’t lose money at the same rate with each year of age, we won’t add depreciation into the tally.

However, depreciation might be something interesting to car buyers.


Firstly, here’s the claimed fuel consumption;

  • Kluger - 11.0L/100kms combined.
  • Corolla - 6.6L/100kms combined.

According to the ACCC, the average petrol price in Sydney in March, 2021 was 132.6 cents per litre.

Using that price as a benchmark, with the average distance Australians travel per year (13,300 km), the costs are;

  • Kluger fuel cost per year: $1,939.93
  • Corolla fuel cost per year: $1,163.96

Total Tally So Far per year

  • Kluger: $1,939.93
  • Corolla: $1,163.96

Petrol cycles

In Australia, petrol prices fluctuate, especially in capital cities.

Why? As stated on the ACCC website ‘Price cycles are the result of deliberate pricing policies of petrol retailers, and are not directly related to changes in wholesale costs’.

Always make sure to fill up when the price is low and take measures to save petrol.


States and territories differ in Australia but, as mentioned above, we’ll stick with NSW. This is because NSW has the most vehicles at 5.892 million as of 2021. Victoria reported 5.15 million.

In NSW, registration costs go by tare weight. For our purposes, both vehicles are for private use.

Tare weight (weight of the unmodified vehicle with no passengers / 10L of fuel)

  • Kluger: 1935kg
  • Corolla: 1280kg

Registration costs per year

  • Kluger: $547
  • Corolla: $381

Green Slip

CTP Green Slip is insurance that covers the liability of anyone driving your vehicle for injuries caused to others in a motor accident. Check with your state or territory’s government for specific details.

  • Kluger: $435 (estimate)
  • Corolla: $435 (estimate)

*Based on a driver aged in their mid-30s with no prior driving offences / incidents.

Note that registration and insurance costs vary per driver, location and other factors. The above figures and details are a rough guide only.

Total Tally So Far per Year

  • Kluger: $2,921.93
  • Corolla: $1,979.96


Most vehicles, like the two we’re looking at, require servicing at least once a year. We’ll base our calculations on two times per year. They are general services.

Rough service costs per year based on two services

  • Kluger: $500
  • Corolla: $410

Costs are not based on scheduled logbook servicing as these can vary considerably.

Total Tally So Far per Year

  • Kluger: $3,421.93
  • Corolla: $2,389.96


This is a tough one as tyre wear depends on daily driving conditions. The types of roads you drive on and how you actually drive can impact tyre wear.

For example, poorly inflated tyres on a heavy vehicle driven aggressively will wear faster than on a lighter vehicle driven gently.

  • The Kluger comes with 245/55 R19 tyres front and rear.
  • The Corolla comes with 205/55 R16 tyres front and rear.

Tyre numbers

The first number, (e.g. 245) means 245mm and is the width across the tread that touches the road)

The second number, (e.g. 55) is the aspect ratio. It means a percent, not millimeters. 55, for example, means the height of the tyre 55% the tyre’s width. The higher this number, the bigger the tyre’s sidewall.

The last number, (e.g. R19) means wheel diameter in inches, in this case, 19 inches in diameter.

Based on some rough price searching;

  • Kluger tyres (4 new): $840 ($210 each)
  • Corolla tyres (4 new): $600 ($150 each)

Note that these are mid-range, new tyres.

Total Tally So Far per Year

  • Kluger: $4,261.93
  • Corolla: $2,989.96

Stamp duty

This is an easy one to calculate as most states offer their own calculators online. Make sure to check with your state government’s website.

Based on some price calculating from the ballpark purchase prices in NSW;

  • Kluger price: $28,000, stamp duty: $840
  • Corolla price: $17,000, stamp duty: $510

Also, note that stamp duty is a one-off payment upon purchase of the vehicle.

Total Tally per Year

  • Kluger: $5,101.93
  • Corolla: $3,499.96

Car costs all in all

Here in Australia, the vast majority of us need a vehicle to get to and from work. This means car costs are pretty much inevitable.

Make sure your decision matches your financial situation and don’t hesitate to get some advice from professionals and/or people you trust.

Furthermore, don’t forget the old ‘buy nice or pay twice’ rule. For example, tyres. Buying the cheapest used options when your tyres are really worn might save a few dollars but will you have to buy more much sooner compared to good quality new tyres?

Vehicle safety might also be negatively affected.

Some car owners figure that paying a little more is the right way for their situation as it allows for more expensive cars that offer great road trips. On the other hand, some prefer a cheaper option and only look at the vehicle as a simple commuter.

All figures and details above are estimates and for a guide only.

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