Australian motorists: 2023 in review

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Is our love of the motorcar waning? You wouldn’t know it with strong sales numbers, but there appears to be fewer young people getting their licences.

Australians drove an estimated 254 billion kilometres on local roads from July 2022 to June 2023 – with the country now boasting approximately 427,000 kilometres of paved roads – according to new data from the Federal Government.

According to the Department of Infrastructure’s Yearbook 2023, there were a total of 21.2 million vehicles registered in Australia during the 2022-2023 financial year, which runs from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

With a total of 19.1 million licence holders, that equates to 1.11 registered vehicles for every driver.

The greatest number of licence holders were in the 30-39 age bracket, with 3.62 million – compared with just 3.02 million for those aged between 20 and 29.

Over FY2022-23, SUVs comprised 55 per cent of all new vehicle sales, up from 28 per cent a decade earlier.

During the same period, there were 33,000 electric vehicle sales recorded locally – compared to just 17,000 in the previous financial year, resulting in a 94 per cent increase in sales in just 12 months.

More information on new-car sales over the 2023 calendar year will be announced as part of Drive’s VFACTS coverage on 4 January 2024.

In 2022, a total of 1180 people lost their lives in road accidents – down 47 per cent compared to 2001 – however, while more lives were saved, more people were injured, with 40,000 hospitalised compared to 27,000 in 2001.

Emissions from vehicles during FY2022-23 rose to 106,000 gigagrams of CO2 (or equivalent), marking a record high for Australia.

Of the greenhouse gas emissions created from all domestic transport modes, road vehicles made up 84 per cent – in comparison to aviation, which was responsible for 9 per cent.

To the end of June 2023, it’s estimated a total of 56 billion litres of petrol was sold in Australia, with the national average price sitting at 182.9 cents per litre.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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