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9309.0 - Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 31 Mar 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/01/2009   
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NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents statistics relating to vehicles which were registered at 31 March 2008 with a motor vehicle registration authority. Motor vehicle registration statistics are compiled from data made available by various state and territory motor vehicle registration authorities and reflect the information as recorded in registration documents.

Estimates of the size and composition of the vehicle fleet were first published in 1921. However, it is only since 1971 that a Motor Vehicle Census (MVC) has been conducted on a more regular basis. The MVC has not been conducted in each and every year since 1971 and the census dates have varied over those years. Therefore, care should be taken when attempting to compare movements over the years.

Statistics are provided on vehicle types comprising passenger vehicles, campervans, light commercial vehicles, all types of trucks, buses and motorcycles.

Vehicle characteristic information includes make of vehicle, year of manufacture, type of fuel that the vehicle was registered as using; and for trucks, Gross Vehicle Mass or Gross Combination Mass. The size of the motor vehicle fleet is also compared with the estimated resident population.


CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

Data for the geographic regions of Statistical Divisions have been removed from this issue. The data items previously contained in those tables are available by postcode and state and territory in the data cubes released on the website with this publication.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


TOTAL NUMBER OF VEHICLES ON REGISTER

There were 15.3 million motor vehicles, including motor cycles, registered in Australia at 31 March 2008. This is 3.5% higher than the number of registrations from the 31 March 2007 Motor Vehicle Census (MVC), and an increase of 16.2% since the 2003 MVC snapshot, when there were 13.2 million vehicles registered in Australia. The average annual growth over this five year period was 3.0%.

Type of vehicle, Census years 2003, 2007 and 2008

2003
2007
2008
Change 03/08
Change 07/08
Average annual growth 03/08
no.
no.
no.
%
%
%

Passenger vehicles
10 365 941
r11 466 560
11 803 536
13.9
2.9
2.6
Campervans
38 337
r43 287
44 790
16.8
3.5
3.2
Light commercial vehicles
1 879 755
r2 190 131
2 288 216
21.7
4.5
4.0
Rigid trucks
348 673
r394 542
410 910
17.8
4.1
3.3
Articulated trucks
64 261
r74 452
79 132
23.1
6.3
4.3
Non-freight carrying trucks
18 599
r21 248
21 808
17.3
2.6
3.2
Buses
70 122
r77 562
80 581
14.9
3.9
2.8
Motor cycles
377 271
r512 428
567 569
50.4
10.8
8.5
Total motor vehicles
13 162 959
r14 780 210
15 296 542
16.2
3.5
3.0

r revised


In the 5 years between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008, the passenger vehicle fleet has grown 13.9% from 10.4 million to 11.8 million. Motor cycles and articulated trucks were the vehicle types showing the largest growth over this time with increases of 50.4% and 23.1% respectively. Light commercial vehicles rose by 21.7%, rigid trucks rose by 17.8% and non-freight carrying trucks rose by 17.3%. Buses and passenger vehicles had the smallest growth over the same period, with increases of 14.9% and 13.9% respectively.

Type of vehicle, Percent change - Between census years 2003 and 2008
Graph: Type of vehicle, Percent change—Between census years 2003 and 2008



STATES AND TERRITORIES

New South Wales had the largest share of the Australian fleet with 4.5 million vehicles or 29.5% of all registered vehicles, followed by Victoria with 3.9 million (25.6%) and Queensland with 3.2 million (20.7%). The Northern Territory had the smallest share with 0.1 million (0.8%) registered vehicles. These shares are comparable with the distribution of the population across states and territories.

State of Registration, Census years 2003, 2007 and 2008

2003
2007
2008
Change 03/08
Change 07/08
Average annual growth 03/08
no.
no.
no.
%
%
%

New South Wales
3 944 850
4 361 237
4 519 963
14.6
3.6
2.8
Victoria
3 494 314
3 818 062
3 921 574
12.2
2.7
2.3
Queensland
2 552 061
3 033 417
3 173 447
24.3
4.6
4.5
South Australia
1 077 154
1 156 961
1 178 904
9.4
1.9
1.8
Western Australia
1 438 441
1 676 495
1 746 579
21.4
4.2
4.0
Tasmania
338 484
381 226
391 327
15.6
2.6
2.9
Northern Territory
104 259
118 178
122 986
18.0
4.1
3.4
Australian Capital Territory
213 396
r234 634
241 762
13.3
3.0
2.5
Australia
13 162 959
r14 780 210
15 296 542
16.2
3.5
3.0

r revised


From 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2008, three states experienced growth above the national average of 16.2%. The growth in the Queensland motor vehicle fleet exceeded that of other states. Registrations in Queensland at 31 March 2008 were 24.3% above those at 31 March 2003, an average annual growth rate of 4.5%. In the same five year period, registrations in Western Australia increased 21.4%, an average annual growth rate of 4.0% and Northern Territory registrations rose 18.0%, with an average annual increase of 3.4%. South Australia's growth in fleet size between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008 of 9.4% was the smallest. In this state, the average annual growth was 1.8%.

Motor vehicle registrations, Percent change - Between census years 2003 and 2008
Graph: Motor vehicle registrations, Percent change—Between census years 2003 and 2008



VEHICLES AND RESIDENT POPULATION

There were 719 motor vehicles per 1,000 resident population in Australia at 31 March 2008. This compares with 663 vehicles per 1,000 residents at the end of March 2003, an increase of 56 vehicles per 1,000 residents over this time.

Western Australia had the highest rate of all states and territories with 813 vehicles per 1,000 residents at 31 March 2008, while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate with 563 vehicles per 1,000 residents. New South Wales, which had both the largest vehicle fleet and the largest population at 31 March 2008, averaged 651 vehicles per 1,000 residents, the second lowest of all states or territories.

Motor vehicle fleet by population(a), State/territory of registration
Graph: Motor vehicle fleet by population(a), State/territory of registration



AVERAGE AGE OF THE FLEET

The average age of all registered vehicles rose from 6.1 years in the 1971 MVC snapshot to 10.7 years in 1997 snapshot, but has been gradually declining since then.

At 31 March 2008, the average age of all vehicles registered in Australia was 9.9 years. This is younger than the 10.4 years recorded in the 2003 MVC. Over this five year period, a drop in the average age was observed in all vehicle types except buses. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 (those more than 15 years old) comprised 21.2% of the total Australian fleet. This is slightly lower than the 21.9% of registrations recorded 12 months earlier.

Estimated Average Vehicle Age(a) of vehicle fleet(b)
Graph: Estimated Average Vehicle Age(a) of vehicle fleet(b)


At 31 March 2008, campervans were the oldest vehicles registered with an average age of 18.4 years, while motor cycles were the youngest vehicle type with an average age of 8.8 years.

The average age of passenger vehicles has fallen from 10.1 years at 31 March 2003 to 9.7 years at 31 March 2008.

Tasmania had the oldest fleet with an average age of 11.9 years at 31 March 2008, with 30.8% of vehicles manufactured before 1993. This was followed by South Australia with an average age of 11.1 years and 26.5% manufactured before 1993. Northern Territory had the youngest fleet in Australia with an average age of 8.9 years and 17.3% of vehicles manufactured before 1993.


TYPE OF FUEL

At the 31 March 2008 MVC snapshot, 13.0 million vehicles in Australia (85.2% of the total vehicle fleet) were registered with a petrol fuel type. This compares with the 11.6 million vehicles registered at the 31 March 2003 snapshot 5 years earlier, when 88.2% of registrations fell into this category.

In the 5 years between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008, the proportion of total vehicles registered with petrol has declined as the proportion of vehicles registered with diesel fuel has increased. The number of vehicles registered with diesel fuel at 31 March 2008 accounted for 12.0% (or 1.8 million vehicles) of the total fleet. Five years earlier, 9.3% of vehicles were registered with diesel fuel.

Higher proportions of passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and light rigid trucks registered with diesel were the major contributors to this increase. Overall passenger vehicle registrations increased by 13.9% between the 2003 and 2008 MVC snapshots, yet the number of passenger vehicles registered with diesel fuel increased by 70.9%.

At 31 March 2008, 777,764 light commercial vehicles were registered with diesel fuel. This is 42.4% of all vehicle registrations in the diesel category. For this vehicle type, the number of registrations with diesel fuel at 31 March 2008 was 56.1% higher than at 31 March 2003. The proportion of light rigid trucks registered with diesel also increased in this period, from 77.1% of registrations of this vehicle type at 31 March 2003 to 87.1% 5 years later.

Motor vehicle fleet, Type of fuel(a)
Graph: Motor vehicle fleet, Type of fuel(a)



CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FLEET

Passenger vehicles

Passenger vehicles accounted for 77.2% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2008. Since 31 March 2003, all states and territories have recorded increases in registrations of this vehicle type, with Queensland showing the largest growth (20.2%) and South Australia the smallest (7.7%).

In the Australian Capital Territory, passenger vehicles accounted for 84.9% of all registrations. This was the highest proportion of any state/territory. The Northern Territory had the smallest proportion with 63.2%.

A total of 6.2 million passenger vehicles were either Toyota, Holden or Ford. These three makes accounted for 19.4%, 17.6% and 15.2% of the total passenger vehicle fleet registered at 31 March 2008.


Trucks

Rigid trucks accounted for 2.7% of the total number of vehicles registered at 31 March 2008. Registrations of the heaviest rigid trucks (those with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) greater than 20 tonnes) have increased by 35.2% since 31 March 2003, while registrations of rigid trucks with a GVM of less than 20 tonnes have increased by 14.4% over the same period.

At 31 March 2008, 79,132 articulated trucks were registered in Australia. While this is 23.1% higher than the number of registrations five years earlier, the growth has been exclusively in articulated trucks in the larger gross combination mass (GCM) categories. Over this period, the number of registrations of articulated trucks with a GCM up to 60 tonnes has dropped 2.1% and the number of articulated trucks with GCM over 60 tonnes has increased 72.4%. This has resulted in an articulated truck fleet where the proportion of registrations with GCM over 60 tonnes has increased from 33.9% at 31 March 2003 to 47.4% at 31 March 2008.

Victoria had the largest number of articulated trucks. It was also the state with the highest number of registrations with a GCM greater than 60 tonnes (11,706). This is 91.7% greater than the number of registrations in this category at 31 March 2003, but vehicles of this size still only make up just under half (49.4%) of all articulated registrations in the state. In comparison, at 31 March 2008, 81.8% of Northern Territory articulated trucks had a GCM greater than 60 tonnes. Western Australia has the lowest proportion of articulated trucks with a GCM greater than 60 tonnes, with only 1.5% of vehicles in this class.


Motor cycles

Motor cycles accounted for 3.7% of all vehicles registered in Australia at 31 March 2008, up from 2.9% in 2003.

Between 31 March 2003 and 31 March 2008, the proportional increase in motor cycle registrations was the largest of any vehicle type. Increases in registrations have been observed in all states and territories with Queensland recording the largest increase of 66.3%, followed by Western Australia with 63.6%. The smallest increase was in Victoria where registrations of motor cycles at 31 March 2008 were 37.3% above those recorded 5 years earlier.

Motor cycle fleet, State/territory of registration
Graph: Motor cycle fleet, State/territory of registration



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