ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
This publication presents estimates from the 2003 Survey of Motor Vehicle Use (SMVU). It contains statistics on passenger vehicle, motor cycle, truck and bus use for characteristics such as distance travelled, fuel consumption and area of operation.
The data were collected in four quarterly sample surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) over the period 1 November 2002 to 31 October 2003.
Beginning with the 2000 SMVU, the collection period changed from the 12 months ended 31 July to the 12 months ended 31 October.
COMPARISONS WITH PREVIOUS SURVEY RESULTS
This survey has been designed to provide a measure of total distance travelled and tonne-kilometres for each state/territory of registration by type of vehicle. While comparisons are made between 2003 survey results and earlier iterations of the SMVU, the survey has not been designed to provide accurate estimates of change.
Care should be taken in drawing inferences from changes in data over time as movements may be subject to high relative standard errors. Therefore the resulting estimates of movements may not be considered statistically significant. There is also potential for increased volatility in the estimates due to changes that have been implemented as a result of post-stratification which was applied to SMVU data from 1998 to 2002. The 2003 data has not been post-stratified. See Technical Note 2: Methodological Review in Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, Australia, 12 months ended 31 October 2002 (cat.no. 9208.0) for information on the post-stratification process.
Additional information about the reliability of the level and movement estimates is given in Technical Note: Data Quality.
Revisions were made to 2000 data in Table 20 contained in Survey of Motor Vehicle Use: Data Cubes, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 9210.0.55.001). The revised data are available on the ABS web site (charges apply).
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
NUMBER OF VEHICLES
In the 12 months ended 31 October 2003 there were an estimated 13.2 million vehicles registered in Australia. This is an increase of 1.2 million vehicles (9.8%) since the 12 months ended 31 July 1999. New South Wales had the largest share of vehicles registered (30.0%), followed by Victoria (26.6%) and Queensland (19.3%). The majority of vehicles on the road were passenger vehicles (79.1%).
Motor vehicles in Australia travelled an estimated 201,497 million kilometres in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003. This is an increase of 16.4% (28,444 million kilometres) since the 12 months ended 31 July 1999 and represents an average annual increase of 3.9%.
The state/territory proportion of total kilometres travelled closely relates to the number of registered vehicles in each state/territory. New South Wales had the largest share of total kilometres travelled (30.8%) and the largest number of registered vehicles.
Number of vehicles and total kilometres travelled, Percent by state/territory-Year ended 31 October 2003
Australian registered motor vehicles each travelled an average of 15,300 kilometres in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003. New South Wales (15,700 kilometres), Victoria (15,700 kilometres) and Queensland (15,400 kilometres) were above the national average, while vehicles registered in Tasmania travelled the least number of kilometres (13,800).
Average kilometres travelled, Motor vehicles by state/territory of registration - Year ended 31 October 2003
Passenger vehicles accounted for 75.3% of the total distance travelled. The highest proportion of total distance travelled was recorded for passenger vehicles registered in the Australian Capital Territory (85.1%) with the lowest in the Northern Territory (59.6%).
Since 1999, the total distance travelled by passenger vehicles has increased by an average of 3.4% per year.
Personal and other use accounted for 52.7% of the total kilometres travelled by passenger vehicles in Australia during 2003. Travel to and from work (24.9%) and business use (22.4%) accounted for the remaining kilometres travelled by passenger vehicles.
Freight carrying vehicles accounted for 46,280 million kilometres travelled (23.0%) in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003. Of this, light commercial vehicles accounted for 70.6% of the kilometres travelled, rigid trucks for 16.8%, and articulated trucks for 12.6%.
Registered motor vehicles in Australia consumed 27,564 million litres of fuel in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003. This is an increase of 14.7% (3,526 million litres) since the 12 months ended 31 July 1999. Over the same period, the estimated number of motor vehicles in Australia increased by 9.8% and kilometres travelled increased by 16.4%.
Total Fuel Consumption, Type of fuel - Years ended 31 July 1999 and 31 October 2003
Of the total fuel consumed by motor vehicles in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003, 64.4% of fuel was petrol and 28.9% was diesel fuel.
The average rate of fuel consumption for motor vehicles in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003 was 13.7 litres per 100 kilometres, a decrease of 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres since 1999. Articulated trucks had the highest average fuel consumption with 54.2 litres per 100 kilometres.
Average fuel consumption, Type of vehicle - Year ended 31 October 2003
Passenger vehicles consumed 15,327 million litres of petrol in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003, of which 92.2% (14,137 million litres) was unleaded petrol.
A total of 5,289 million litres of diesel fuel was consumed by articulated and rigid trucks. This was 66.5% of all diesel fuel used and represents 99.9% and 97.4% respectively of fuel consumption for these vehicle types.
The total fuel consumption by other vehicles in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003 included 4,275 million litres of fuel by light commercial vehicles and 523 million litres of fuel by buses.
Freight vehicles in Australia travelled an estimated 152,777 million tonne-kilometres in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003. This is an increase of 22,903 million tonne-kilometres travelled since the 12 months ended 31 July 1999, an average annual increase of 4.1%. An increase in tonne-kilometres was reported in all freight vehicle types.
Total tonne-kilometres travelled, Type of vehicle - Years ended 31 July 1999 and 31 October 2003
Articulated trucks accounted for 75.7% of the total freight vehicle tonne-kilometres travelled in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003. Rigid trucks accounted for 19.9% and light commercial vehicles for 4.4%. Articulated trucks each travelled an average of 2.0 million tonne-kilometres. Rigid trucks and light commercial vehicles averaged fewer tonne-kilometres travelled in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003, with 98,900 and 6,500 tonne-kilometres respectively.
In the 12 months ended 31 October 2003 articulated trucks of a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of up to and including 40 tonnes travelled a total of 7,963 million tonne-kilometres. Articulated trucks over 40 tonnes GCM travelled a total of 107,693 million tonne-kilometres.
The amount of tonne-kilometres travelled by articulated trucks in the 12 months ended 31 October 2003 varied when comparing the state of operation and the state of registration, with the largest difference occuring in New South Wales.
Total tonne-kilometres travelled by articulated trucks, State of operation and registration-Year ended 31 October 2003
This page last updated 20 June 2006