9208.0 - Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, Jul 1998  
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  • 173 billion kilometres driven on Australian roads in 1998 - ABS (Media Release)


February 18, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

173 billion kilometres driven on Australian roads in 1998 - ABS

People in Australia drove a total distance of 173 billion kilometres on our roads in the 12 months to July 1998, according to figures published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Eight out of ten vehicles on the road were passenger vehicles and accounted for over three quarters (77%) of the total distance travelled (134 billion kilometres). The average distance travelled by these vehicles was 14,400 kilometres. However buses and freight carrying vehicles (such as light commercial vehicles, and rigid and articulated trucks) on average travelled greater distances, averaging 19,000 km in the year.

Passenger vehicles registered for road use accounted for two-thirds of the 23,909 million litres of fuel used by all vehicles, while freight carrying vehicles accounted for most of the remainder (31%).

Unleaded petrol accounted for over half of all fuel consumption for road use (54%) and almost three quarters (72%) of fuel consumed by passenger vehicles. Passenger vehicles using unleaded petrol averaged 11.3 litres per 100 kilometres, compared with 12.0 litres per 100 kilometres for those using leaded petrol.

Diesel was the predominant fuel used by freight carrying vehicles accounting for 66% of the total fuel consumption by these vehicles. The average fuel consumption for vehicles using diesel was 25.6 litres per 100 kilometres. Consumption was higher for articulated trucks (averaging 51.0 litres) compared to rigid trucks (28.3 litres) and light commercial vehicles (12.0 litres).

Other findings from the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use were:
  • Each registered motor vehicle averaged 14,900 kilometres and consumed an average 13.8 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres during the year.
  • Vehicles registered in the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest average distance travelled per vehicle at 15,900 kilometres with Tasmania recording the lowest with 13,300 kilometres.
  • Over half of all motor vehicle usage (56% or 97,567 million kilometres) was for business or travel to and from work. Passenger vehicles, however, were more likely to be used for private use (52% or 70,106 million kilometres) compared to business use (24% or 32,160 million kilometres) and travel to and from work (24% or 31,995 million kilometres).
  • Freight carrying vehicles travelled an estimated 18,967 million laden kilometres for business purposes and carried 1,277 million tonnes of goods.

Please note: The statistical collection methodology used for this survey has changed since the previous 1995 Survey of Motor Vehicle Use and results are not directly comparable.

Details are in Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (cat. no. 9208.0) which is available from ABS bookshops.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication telephone 02 6252 5249.