Transport costs have surged faster than the rate of inflation as Melbourne families continue to pay more to get around the city.
The latest Transport Affordability Index by the Australian Automobile Association shows Melburnians are paying an extra $17.35 a week for travel than they did over the same period last year.
The biggest factor behind the surge was fuel, with the average household paying $75.31 a week compared to $62.59 in the third quarter of 2017.
Melbourne remains the second most expensive city for transport in Australia — behind only Sydney — as the price of car insurance and public transport fares have also continued to climb in Victoria.
RACV’s vehicle engineering policy manager Michael Case said Victorians should shop around and monitor fuel price cycles for value.
“Rising transport costs and, in particular, petrol prices are a major concern for our members,” he said.
“We encourage motorists to top up rather than fill up when prices are high. This helps to average out the fuel budget over time.
“As a general guide, regular searches for the cheapest fuel can save motorists hundreds of dollars a year.”
The total cost of transport for households in the state capital rose 4.7 per cent while the national consumer price index rose only 1.9 per cent.
The index also found Melbourne was the most expensive city in Australia for comprehensive car insurance, with motorists paying $33.30 a week on average.
Geelong households averaged a whopping $92.02 for fuel every week because of higher petrol prices and longer distances travelled.
Transport spending represents 15.3 per cent of household income in Melbourne.
RISING FEES, PRICES FUEL COMMUTING PAIN
Transport expenses for the Kniese family have almost doubled in the past five years.
Lisa Kniese, 44, said rising fuel and registration costs had caused her family’s weekly commute to surge up to $230 per week.
“I’d say we’ve been spending at least $120 more a week than five years ago,” she said. “As our three kids have grown up, they’ve got more running around with extra-curricular stuff.”
Mrs Kniese said her kids caught the bus to and from high school.
“As all of them have moved into secondary school, they’re having to organise their own transport.”
Aaron Kniese, 43, said avoiding tollways had kept his family’s budget intact.
“It’s probably always in the back of our mind about how much we use the car,” he said. “Do we really need to use EastLink or CityLink? It might be quicker but we’re also going to have to pay to use it.”
The Frankston South family said upgrading to a modern car had saved them money at the bowser.
“Years ago, we had a Holden Commodore,” Mr Kniese said. “We sold that and purchased a diesel Kia Sorento. The k’s that we get out of the diesel engine are a lot better than what we were getting out of the petrol engine.”
Extracted from Herald Sun