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In the 5 years between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008, the passenger vehicle fleet has grown 13.9% from 10.4 million to 11.8 million. Motor cycles and articulated trucks were the vehicle types showing the largest growth over this time with increases of 50.4% and 23.1% respectively. Light commercial vehicles rose by 21.7%, rigid trucks rose by 17.8% and non-freight carrying trucks rose by 17.3%. Buses and passenger vehicles had the smallest growth over the same period, with increases of 14.9% and 13.9% respectively.
STATES AND TERRITORIES
New South Wales had the largest share of the Australian fleet with 4.5 million vehicles or 29.5% of all registered vehicles, followed by Victoria with 3.9 million (25.6%) and Queensland with 3.2 million (20.7%). The Northern Territory had the smallest share with 0.1 million (0.8%) registered vehicles. These shares are comparable with the distribution of the population across states and territories.
From 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2008, three states experienced growth above the national average of 16.2%. The growth in the Queensland motor vehicle fleet exceeded that of other states. Registrations in Queensland at 31 March 2008 were 24.3% above those at 31 March 2003, an average annual growth rate of 4.5%. In the same five year period, registrations in Western Australia increased 21.4%, an average annual growth rate of 4.0% and Northern Territory registrations rose 18.0%, with an average annual increase of 3.4%. South Australia's growth in fleet size between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008 of 9.4% was the smallest. In this state, the average annual growth was 1.8%.
VEHICLES AND RESIDENT POPULATION
There were 719 motor vehicles per 1,000 resident population in Australia at 31 March 2008. This compares with 663 vehicles per 1,000 residents at the end of March 2003, an increase of 56 vehicles per 1,000 residents over this time.
Western Australia had the highest rate of all states and territories with 813 vehicles per 1,000 residents at 31 March 2008, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate with 563 vehicles per 1,000 residents. New South Wales, which had both the largest vehicle fleet and the largest population at 31 March 2008, averaged 651 vehicles per 1,000 residents, the second lowest of all states or territories.
AVERAGE AGE OF THE FLEET
The average age of all registered vehicles rose from 6.1 years in the 1971 MVC snapshot to 10.7 years in 1997 snapshot, but has been gradually declining since then.
At 31 March 2008, the average age of all vehicles registered in Australia was 9.9 years. This is younger than the 10.4 years recorded in the 2003 MVC. Over this five year period, a drop in the average age was observed in all vehicle types except buses. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 (those more than 15 years old) comprised 21.2% of the total Australian fleet. This is slightly lower than the 21.9% of registrations recorded 12 months earlier.
At 31 March 2008, campervans were the oldest vehicles registered with an average age of 18.4 years, while motor cycles were the youngest vehicle type with an average age of 8.8 years.
The average age of passenger vehicles has fallen from 10.1 years at 31 March 2003 to 9.7 years at 31 March 2008.
Tasmania had the oldest fleet with an average age of 11.9 years at 31 March 2008, with 30.8% of vehicles manufactured before 1993. This was followed by South Australia with an average age of 11.1 years and 26.5% manufactured before 1993. Northern Territory had the youngest fleet in Australia with an average age of 8.9 years and 17.3% of vehicles manufactured before 1993.
TYPE OF FUEL
At the 31 March 2008 MVC snapshot, 13.0 million vehicles in Australia (85.2% of the total vehicle fleet) were registered with a petrol fuel type. This compares with the 11.6 million vehicles registered at the 31 March 2003 snapshot 5 years earlier, when 88.2% of registrations fell into this category.
In the 5 years between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008, the proportion of total vehicles registered with petrol has declined as the proportion of vehicles registered with diesel fuel has increased. The number of vehicles registered with diesel fuel at 31 March 2008 accounted for 12.0% (or 1.8 million vehicles) of the total fleet. Five years earlier, 9.3% of vehicles were registered with diesel fuel.
Higher proportions of passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and light rigid trucks registered with diesel were the major contributors to this increase. Overall passenger vehicle registrations increased by 13.9% between the 2003 and 2008 MVC snapshots, yet the number of passenger vehicles registered with diesel fuel increased by 70.9%.
At 31 March 2008, 777,764 light commercial vehicles were registered with diesel fuel. This is 42.4% of all vehicle registrations in the diesel category. For this vehicle type, the number of registrations with diesel fuel at 31 March 2008 was 56.1% higher than at 31 March 2003. The proportion of light rigid trucks registered with diesel also increased in this period, from 77.1% of registrations of this vehicle type at 31 March 2003 to 87.1% 5 years later.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FLEET
Passenger vehicles accounted for 77.2% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2008. Since 31 March 2003, all states and territories have recorded increases in registrations of this vehicle type, with Queensland showing the largest growth (20.2%) and South Australia the smallest (7.7%).
In the Australian Capital Territory, passenger vehicles accounted for 84.9% of all registrations. This was the highest proportion of any state/territory. The Northern Territory had the smallest proportion with 63.2%.
A total of 6.2 million passenger vehicles were either Toyota, Holden or Ford. These three makes accounted for 19.4%, 17.6% and 15.2% of the total passenger vehicle fleet registered at 31 March 2008.
Rigid trucks accounted for 2.7% of the total number of vehicles registered at 31 March 2008. Registrations of the heaviest rigid trucks (those with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) greater than 20 tonnes) have increased by 35.2% since 31 March 2003, while registrations of rigid trucks with a GVM of less than 20 tonnes have increased by 14.4% over the same period.
At 31 March 2008, 79,132 articulated trucks were registered in Australia. While this is 23.1% higher than the number of registrations five years earlier, the growth has been exclusively in articulated trucks in the larger gross combination mass (GCM) categories. Over this period, the number of registrations of articulated trucks with a GCM up to 60 tonnes has dropped 2.1% and the number of articulated trucks with GCM over 60 tonnes has increased 72.4%. This has resulted in an articulated truck fleet where the proportion of registrations with GCM over 60 tonnes has increased from 33.9% at 31 March 2003 to 47.4% at 31 March 2008.
Victoria had the largest number of articulated trucks. It was also the state with the highest number of registrations with a GCM greater than 60 tonnes (11,706). This is 91.7% greater than the number of registrations in this category at 31 March 2003, but vehicles of this size still only make up just under half (49.4%) of all articulated registrations in the state. In comparison, at 31 March 2008, 81.8% of Northern Territory articulated trucks had a GCM greater than 60 tonnes. Western Australia has the lowest proportion of articulated trucks with a GCM greater than 60 tonnes, with only 1.5% of vehicles in this class.
Motor cycles accounted for 3.7% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2008, up from 2.9% in 2003.
Between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008, the proportional increase in motor cycle registrations was the largest of any vehicle type. Increases in registrations have been observed in all states and territories with Queensland recording the largest increase of 66.3%, followed by Western Australia with 63.6%. The smallest increase was in Victoria where registrations of motor cycles at 31 March 2008 were 37.3% above those recorded 5 years earlier.
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