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.

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