SYDNEYSIDERS are paying $100 more than the national average just to get around despite the recent cut in the federal government’s fuel excise, new figures show.

The quarterly Transport Affordability Index from the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) shows Sydney motorists are paying an extra $452 per year at the petrol pump, and an extra $37 per year on road tolls.

Sydney drivers are shelling out a weekly average of $89.64 on the hated tolls, massively more than their counterparts in Melbourne ($55.80) and Brisbane ($53.70).

While we are paying some $10 less on overall transport costs per week than we were in the last quarter of 2021, the cost of fuel has shot up by more than $8 to $94.80 per week.

Average car loan repayments have dropped by $1065 over the past year – driven by a trend towards cheaper vehicles – but our total transport costs are $474.43 per week – more than $100 over the national average of $368.21.

NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said with 15 per cent of family budgets in Sydney going towards transport costs, “it is clear we must continue to try and find ways to make transport more affordable.”

“We are pleased that prices fell slightly on the previous quarterly report, and would hope to see a similar trend over this current quarter, with oil prices falling from their record high levels set in March and the Federal Government’s temporary reduction in the fuel excise introduced,” Mr Khoury said.

But AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley said the halving of the excise “doesn’t address long term motoring tax issues and means $3.3 billion of foregone revenue is no longer available to be spent on vital safety upgrades of our transport network”.

“The fact is given we live in an era of rapid electrification and fuel efficiency gains means fuel excise is an unfair and unsustainable tax,” he said.

The AAA is calling for the major parties to outline plans for motoring tax reform, arguing the fuel excise was not fit for the 21st century.

“The AAA is far from the only observer to note it is no longer fair or sustainable to have Australia’s notional ‘road user charge’ based on the consumption of petrol and diesel,” Mr Bradley said.

Analysis by the Grattan Institute showed the halving of the fuel excise – which is due to end in September – benefited high income households the most. High income households would benefit by $1.3 billion, while low-income households would only benefit by $0.75 billion, according to the Grattan analysis.

A new survey of 1005 Australians by the market insights company Savvy found fuel was the primary cost-of-living issue for nearly two in three respondents (64 per cent) – beating out concern about the cost of food, utilities, rent and mortgage payments. Just over half the survey respondents said they would drive less because of the cost of petrol, while 30 per cent said they would just absorb the increase.

Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas said rising fuel price rises would disproportionately disadvantage blue collar workers.

“Tradespeople and those who work outdoors are reliant on their ute or car to turn a profit or make their weekly wages,” Mr Tsouvalas said. “This will just add to the woes of the working class who are already feeling the brunt of rising grocery costs. The survey says that thirty per cent of respondents said they’ll just ‘absorb’ the increase. Tradespeople do not have that luxury.”

Extracted in full from: AAA Transport Affordability Index reveals fuel costs in NSW | Herald Sun

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