Are You Driving More Than The Average?

Are You Driving More Than The Average?

Australians racked up a whopping 227 billion kilometres on the road in 2010. How much more or less than the average are you doing each year?

Picture by Robert

Lifehacker readers have pretty firm opinions on driving, which isn’t surprising how much time everyone spends on the road. According to the recently-released survey of motor vehicle use from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which covers our driving habits in the year to October 2010, there were 16 million registered vehicles in Australia at that time. The average distance travelled by each vehicle over that 12 months was 14,100 kilometres, which works out at around 38 kilometres a day.

Obviously people who drive for a living skew that average figure; only 20% of the vehicles included in the numbers were non-passenger vehicles, but those vehicles account for 72% of the distance travelled. With that said, plenty of people would cover more than 19 kilometres each way simply in their daily commute to work.

That average figure had actually dropped slightly compared to the previous ABS study in 2006, when the figure was 14,600 kilometres. Higher petrol prices and a growing awareness of the impact of driving might be a factor in that drop; cheaper access to alternatives such as flying might be another.

The two states with the highest average distance travelled were Victoria and the Northern Territory. That’s interesting, given how compact Victoria is; clearly having towns a long distance apart isn’t the only reason for lots of vehicle use. Over 55% of travel took place in capital cities, which is slightly remarkable given that those locations generally have much better (if far from perfect) public transport options.

Obviously, average figures can’t account for all individual circumstances, but if you’re way outside those numbers and don’t live a long way from where you work, your driving habits might bear examination. Fuel consumption is also worth checking; the average for passenger vehicles was 11.1 kilometres per 100 kilometres. If you have a new-ish car and use a lot more fuel than that, it might be time to either consider your habits or get your vehicle checked.

How does your usage compare to the average, and how do you ensure that it doesn’t go overboard? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Lifehacker’s weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.


  • 11 year old car at 95,000km makes 8636km a year or 719km a month or about 23km a day – give of take……

    Strange considering I work 15km from my home…….

  • Since moving to the suburbs where public transport is a decent option, my mileage has dropped significantly. I’m currently doing around 12,500km per year. Back when I was further out (about an hour north of Melbourne) it was about double that at 25,000km per year.

    My current driving is mostly on weekends, so when I do drive, it’s usually significant (apart from the weekly supermarket shop).

  • 2 cars. 30000K’s a year between them two.

    roughly 22K in my daily and 8K in my weekender.
    60 k’s a day on average for the daily.

    im working hard on my carbon footprint 😛

  • Longer km in Victoria is interesting. Maybe we have a higher percentage commuting from outer suburbs due to so many jobs in the CBD/inner suburbs?

    I commute a bit more than average – about 160 km/day, or 38,000 km/year. Fortunately getting well under the average fuel consumption in the article – just 3.9 litres/100 km.

  • new car in november last year 41,000 Kms and counting as of earlier this month, expect to clock 60k before november,

    life of a country wide travelling technican

  • Aussies have a great open space to drive in, we are in general, used to travelling long distances, at least I was. When I was in Namibia with the army there was an accident nearly every week with small countries like Sweden not being used to the long distances! Namibia has roads that are straight as an arrow for hundreds of klms and then taking a sudden sharp corner, absolutely deadly! So be proud you Aussies that drive a lot, we’re better off for it! #]

  • Since changing my job, I have gone from driving a couple thousand ks a week to around 200…. Big change, Ive also noticed my consumption of pod casts and new music has also dropped….

  • I do somewhere between 9,000 – 10,000 km a year on average, without commuting daily to work. Weekends typically rack up 200km so that makes up for the lack of daily use.

    The 11.1L/100km sounds about line ball for a large car with mixed use – city traffic would be worse, highways better. (my large car gets 12.something in the city, about 7.8 on the highway.)

  • When I was driving to work I was averaging around 130kms a DAY. Working anywhere from 7 to 14 days a fortnight. Public transport from Geelong to Melbourne doesn’t work when you’re a shift worker with crazy hours.

    Hoping my motorbike stays under 50km a week (not counting weekend trips).

  • I’m doing 70,000km a year just for work, plus 5,000km for personal use. I fix computers for one of the major IT companies.
    Live in the Hunter and work all over Sydney, so 250-300km a day.

  • My car does 30,000 km a year; the daily 60 km round trip to work accounts for only half of that. I’m not sure how my wife’s car’s annual mileage looks. We live in a semi-rural area near Beaudesert — everything is at least 80 km away.

    I feel pretty good about my consumption of ~6 L per 100 km. 🙂

  • The focus on fuel efficency should be relaxed.

    The focus should go on your absolute consumption.

    If someone uses 5000 litres of petrol a year with a fuel efficiency of 3.5L/100km then that person is using up more of the world’s resources than someone using 1000 litres of petrol a year with an efficiency of 10L/100km.

    My personal efficiency is 7.7L/100km in stop-start city driving with a short commute (Golf TSI). About 850 litres a year. Whoa, I feel bad when I think about it that way 🙁

  • 22,000KM a year for myself. Uni is only 2KM from where I live during the week, but the 200KM commute home each weekend adds up. I drive an 03 commodore wagon and get 8.6L/100km most of the time, don’t think i can get much better.

  • used to do 250km+ a week when I used to drive a Toyota Yaris. Now that I own several road bikes and a fixed speed, I’ve been biking more and driving less. Everyday I wake up I think to myself “What can I substitute for a bike ride instead of driving?” I save a butt load of money on petrol and public transport expenses. I thought a 50km round trip from Melbourne to the western suburbs was a bit much but now that I’m a bit fitter, it doesn’t seem like a chore anymore.

    Car makes you fat and costs you money.
    Bike runs on fat and saves you money.

  • Since I’ve shifted to city working and catching the train to work I’m probably down to well under 100 a week on average.

    I think I prefer it to be honest, once you consider the cost of parking, fuel and the time spent stuck in the car not being able to do anything other than listen to the radio it seems really worth while. plus I get about forty minutes if walking time a day.

    Saying this, I am lucky that I have a direct public transport line to work if I had to bus/train/switch it up some more my opinion would be incredibly different.

  • I’ve had my car since 2002, and done about 41500km, so about 5000km a year. I only live about 2km from work. Yes, I could walk, but I start work at 5am.

    I love cars but hate driving, so I don’t drive anywhere I don’t have to.

  • 7 Months on my learners, I clocked up 170 hours of driving, driving round trip 140km a day to school in QLD, and did that for another year on my P’s.

    Now I am doing about 5km a day.

  • It’s 2015 & I’ve ive clocked over 46000 kilometres in the past you borrow my brother in laws car is there a little pissed at how much I’ve driven it but hey I have moved from lithgow to wollongong and hello Job in that time for me good job thank god petrol is being costing me a damn fortune

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