Aussies love cars more, petrol less


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3 min read

Our love affair with cars has deepened over the past five years, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

As of 31 January 2017, there were 581 registered motor vehicles per 1,000 people – 0.3 per cent higher than the figure recorded in 2016 and 2.5 per cent higher than in 2012.

The number of cars on the road has also increased. There were 18.8 million registered motor vehicles at the end of January – up 2.1 per cent over one year and 12.2 per cent over five years.

2017 2016 2012
Registered motor vehicles 18.8 million 18.4 million 16.7 million
Vehicles per 1,000 people 581 579 567
Vehicles’ average age 10.1 years 10.1 years 10.0 years

Petrol loses market share

While Australians are loving cars more, they’re loving petrol cars less.

The share of vehicles that use petrol fell from 81.1 per cent in 2012 to 75.7 per cent in 2017. Meanwhile, diesel jumped from 15.9 per cent to 22.2 per cent.

Passenger vehicles represent 75.0 per cent of vehicles on the road and motorcycles 4.5 per cent – figures that are largely unchanged over the past five years.

The rest of the vehicle fleet consists of trucks, buses, vans and campervans.

2017 2016 2012
Diesel share 22.2% 20.9% 15.9%
Petrol share 75.7% 76.7% 81.1%
Other fuel share 2.1% 2.3% 3.1%
Passenger vehicles share 75.0% 75.1% 75.9%
Motorcycles share 4.5% 4.5% 4.2%

Toyota remains top dog

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Toyota, Holden and Ford were the top three brands in both 2012 and 2017, according to registration statistics.

However, while Toyota’s market share remained constant during that five-year period, Holden and Ford suffered significant losses.

Mazda, Hyundai and Volkswagen were the big winners in the top 10, with each manufacturer increasing its market share by more than one percentage point.

Rank Brand 2017 2016 2012
1 Toyota 20.2% 20.2% 20.0%
2 Holden 13.1% 13.8% 16.1%
3 Ford 9.1% 9.8% 12.6%
4 Mazda 8.1% 7.7% 6.4%
5 Hyundai 7.2% 6.9% 5.8%
6 Mitsubishi 5.9% 6.1% 7.1%
7 Nissan 5.8% 5.8% 5.9%
8 Honda 4.9% 4.9% 4.7%
9 Subaru 4.5% 4.3% 3.9%
10 Volkswagen 3.2% 3.0% 2.0%