a girl travelling in a car

Gear Up: Car Ownership in Australia


Is there a nation that gets more revived up about high quality vehicles more than Australia? The type of vehicle we own is a reflection of who we are, so it’s important we choose wisely!


Let’s get things started with ten lesser-known Australian car facts.


Read on to ensure you’re on the winning team at your next trivia night:

1. Australia is home to over 800,000 kilometers of road and over 30,000 structures (principally, bridges). To put that in perspective, Australia is about 4,000 kilometers wide, from east to west!

2. There are over 18 million registered vehicles in Australia, with a population of just over 24 million. No wonder there’s so much traffic during the morning commute!

3. When the Sydney Harbor Bridge opened in 1932, the traffic consisted of horses and cars. To cross the bridge, the cars were required to pay double the price of a horse and it’s rider.

4. Australian’s drive an average of 15,530 km’s per year, and with 18 million registered vehicles, that can equate to almost 279,540,000,000 km’s of driving! That’s enough driving to get you to the Moon and back 363,605 times.

5. The longest straight road in Australia is part of the Eyre Highway, which connects Western Australia to South Australia via the Nullarbor Plain. This stretch of the highway runs in a straight line for 145.6 km’s without a bend. It’s referred to as 90 Mile Straight and is the second longest straight road in the world, following Highway 10 in Saudi Arabia at 260 km’s.

6. Highway 1 (which encompasses the Eyre Highway) is a network of highways that circumnavigates our country, joining all of our mainland state capitals. With a total length of approximately 14,500 km’s, it is the longest national highway in the world – eclipsing the Trans-Siberia Highway, which sits at over 11,000 km’s.

7. In 1932, a frustrated farmer’s wife wrote to Ford Australia: “Can you build me a vehicle that we can go to church in on Sunday without getting wet, and my husband can use it to take the pigs to market on Monday?” Just like that, the Ute, an Australian icon, was conceived. It was eventually delivered by 22-year-old Lewis Bandt, the only man in Ford Australia's design department.

8. In another first for Australia: we introduced the first compulsory seat belt law in 1970.

9. Although Aussies drive on the left side of the road, we’re in the global minority. Only about 34% of the world’s countries do the same. Several historical figures including Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Napoleon changed driving laws in certain countries while they were in power, switching the requirement from one side of the road to the other.

10. The most expensive, single-ticket speeding ticket you can receive comes to you from New South Wales: $3,562 if you’re speeding 45km/h over the limit in a Class C vehicle.


Let’s shift gears and explore some key car ownership statistics in Australia:


  • Australia’s car population is seemingly growing faster than our human population. According to the motor vehicle census, the number of registered vehicles in Australia has increased by 43% since the turn of the century, comparing to a 27% increase in our human population.
  • More than 90% of the Australian population live in a household with access to a car. It’s certainly no surprise that it’s a necessity for most Australian’s to have at least a double car garage and adequate driveway space!
  • Car ownership rates peak in our late 30s and sees us through to our 50s.
  • As ages reach the 60s and 70s, car ownership rates diminish.
  • 35% of households have access to at least one car.
  • 54% of households have access to between two and four cars.
  • 2% of households have access to five or more cars.
  • The highest recorded Australian suburbs where households have access to five or more cars:
    1. Hope Valley, Western Australia: 22%
    2. Humpty Doo, Northern Territory: 8%
    3. Upper Caboolture, Queensland: 12%
    4. Badgers Creek, New South Wales: 24%
    5. South West, Australian Capital Territory: 9%
    6. Cambridge, Tasmania: 6%
    7. Narre Warren South, Victoria: 12%
    8. One Tree Hill, South Australia: 12%
  • In the City of Melbourne, 76% of households report having no car. The majority of these houses are apartments and terraces. In the Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane CBD’s, 57%, 40% and 35% of households report having no car respectively.

With so many cars on our roads and in our driveways, car theft becomes seemingly inevitable. Whilst this is the worst case scenario for car owners, the better we educate ourselves on the nightmarish side of vehicle ownership, the better we’ll be prepared to deal with it. Without further ado:


Australian Car Theft Statistics:


  • 52,858 vehicles were stolen in Australia. That’s one car stolen every 10 minutes!
  • Victoria took the prize for the most thefts: 29% of all thefts in 2017.
  • When asked “Holden or Ford”, thieves responded with “Holden”, with the Commodore being the most stolen vehicle with 4224 reported missing.
  • The average age of a stolen car is around 11 years.
  • 1 in 5 cars were never recovered.
  • Car thefthasdeclined over the past decade, due to improvements in car security technology. Thieves are still enjoying the spoils of stealing older cars and heavy vehicles.
  • The thieves’ preferred methods of stealing are:
    1. Stealing your keys in a burglary (37% of all thefts)
    2. Stealing the keys you’ve left in your car (18% of all thefts)
    3. Hot-wiring your car – this is thankfully a lot less common now than Hollywood script writers will have you believe (14% of all thefts)
    4. All other instances where keys are used to steal a car, such as learning a VIN and registration of a vehicle and having a key made at a dealership (12% of all thefts)
    5. Taking your car without consent (7% of all thefts)
    6. Stealing your keys in a robbery (5% of all thefts) – this one is quite scary because it entails a criminal confronting you and demanding you give them your car keys. Home invasions or car-jackings fall under this category.
    7. Forgery/fraud – a fake buyer may hand over a phoney bank cheque to a dealer and collect your car (5% of all thefts)
    8. Towing or pushing your vehicle (2% of all thefts)

Not all is lost!


You can protect yourself from car theft by keeping in mind the following tips:


  • When you leave your car, close all windows, lock the car and take the keys with you.
  • Never leave valuable in plain view in an unattended car.
  • Park your car in well-lit areas when possible, preferably with some active CCTV cameras.
  • When you park your car, turn your wheels toward the curb to make it harder to tow.
  • Always ensure your car alarm is active – even if the car is parked at home in your locked garage.
  • Make use of as many anti-theft options that are convenient, such as steering wheel locks, ignition kill switches, floorboard locks, gearshift locks
  • Vehicle tracking devices are also an option, making it much easier for the police to find your stolen car.
  • If your car is gently nudged from behind, it could be thieves trying to bait you to get out of the car. If you suspect this is the case, immediately lock your doors and phone the police.

At this stage, you should be fully across car ownership in Australia and everything it entails, warts and all!


If reading up on all these facts and figures have got you itching to make a new car purchase, the team at Auto Car Loans are at the ready: give us a call on 1300 301 051 or fill out the contact form to get started.