Anyone Else Find Car Ownership Is Such a Rip-off?

Hi all,

Just to put this in context, I live in NSW. I catch a train to work, so I drive my car about 4 times a week. Short trips, I only need to fuel up once a month.

My rego is due, so here are the amount of money I have to pay: Rego = $320, CTP = $470, insurance (I only buy it for 3rd party damage, in case I run into any expensive cars) = $270. And annual servicing, depending on what the mechanic tells me, around $500.

Add them all up, that's $1500+ just for the car to exist every year. Driving it around cost me around $40 every 300km or so.

I really want to go without a car, I really think this money can be better spent elsewhere.
I even started researching for other means of transport on the weekend, such as car sharing sites such as But these car sharing locations aren't near me at all.

Anyone within ozbargain community have other ideas of cheap transport?

Or is buying a new car worth it? This is an idea to not have to pay for the $500+ servicing fee.

I was also thinking just do car inspection, without any servicing. But the mechanic told me that means I can only register the car as road worthy for 6 months, not a full year.


              • +2

                @SlavOz: I think you mistakenly wrote ‘printer’ when you meant ‘eater’

                • @Euphemistic: No. The income potential that a car opens for you is far greater than the cost of ownership.

                  I don't live anywhere near public transport so I have to drive to work, and on the weekends I do freelance work which I also have to drive around for. That means my car is earning me at least $90k a year - which I wouldn't be able to earn without the car. It's like this for many people.

                  A car saves you a lot of time even if you do live near public transport, and in today's economy your time is just as valuable as your money.

                  • @SlavOz: That’s pretty funny.

                    YOU are earning the money, the car is a COST of that employment.

                    • @Euphemistic: Clearly, you're not someone who values your time, which is kind of sad really.

                      If something saves me time, it's opening up more income potential for me. Less time travelling on public transport means I can spend more time looking for higher paying jobs or doing gigs on the side. You're literally wrong - if I didn't have a car I would slbe giving up my current $90k a year for the sake of saving $1.5k. Do the math. I come out on top for owning a car.

                      • @SlavOz: Ok. I’m gonna guess that your precious vehicle COSTS a damn sight more than $1500 each year. Time for you to do some mathS.

                        It is a cost of earning, just like any other tool or service you purchase, hire etc to increase your productivity.

                        Alternatively, you could also say it is a COST of living away from where you work.

                        Everything is a compromise. Get a job within walking distance, live in an apartment or pay a fortune for s house. Get a cheaper nice house/block/view but then have to shell out time and money to travel. I choose living closer to work but earning a bit less and still enjoying a nice pace to live. You choose driving to chase $.

                        Whichever way you look at it a car is not an investment. It does not earn, it costs.

                        • @Euphemistic: Wrong again. Your solution to spending money on a car is to live closer to places of employment, in other words that's likely to be the CBD for most people.

                          Living close to the CBD costs a lot of money. A hell of a lot more than anything you'll save by not having a car.

                          Me - I can work in the CBD while living far away from it. Yeah, it means I need to have a car to get there. It also means my mortgage is about $100-300k cheaper than yours. But congratulations, you saved a whopping $1500 on not having a car!

                          • @SlavOz: Sigh.

                            Surprisingly there are plenty of people who work not in the cbd. Pretty much anyone who works with tools, teachers, retail, hospitality, and more. Maybe those aren’t as well paying, but like I said it is a compromise. Earn less, pay less for housing.

                            I still don’t get how you think a car costs $1500 a year. That is pretty much rego and a basic service. What about depreciation, tyres, insurance and fuel. Anything newer than a few years old will cost that in depreciation alone. Good luck to you If you can run a car for $1500 a year.

                            • -2

                              @Euphemistic: $1500 is the general estimation of car ownership per year. Depreciation, tyres, and fuel are all based on how much you use the product. Those costs are directly a result from you benefiting from the car.

                              Not living or working in the CBD is a perfect example. Public transport lines are pretty poor in the suburbs. For most people living in the West, public transport just isn't an option. In that case having a car raises your earning potential and saves you a lot of time per day/week/year. You could almost take up a side gig with how much time you save by travelling with a car. Even if you factor in all the other costs you mentioned, it still wouldn't come anywhere near offsetting how much income you are able to earn as a result of owning a car.

                              • @SlavOz:

                                You could almost take up a side gig with how much time you save by travelling with a car.

                                Some of us prefer quality over quantity. Saved so much time by spending several thousand dollars on a car that I could afford to earn a few more thousand dollars to spend more time in a car travelling to and from a job I don’t really need? Not for me.

                                Ultimately it is ‘to each their own’

      • +3

        Also, depreciation isn't a cost to anyone who actually likes their car or keeps it a long time.

        That’s ridiculous. You cannot just dismiss one of the biggest costs of vehicle ownership. Sure, you probably don’t think about it for a tv, but that’s becuase the amounts are so much smaller and the tv will be worth nothing very quickly so you only think about it in terms of purchase price.

      • On a global scale Australia is below average in cost and also just in injury risk. Significant differences between states. No comparison with a TV where your brain gets damaged by stealth. There is a growing gap in the middle class where one has savings in a house and is constantly harassed with new rules and fines for the sake of it. The bludger gets money thrown at it and the rich can dodge points with endless tricks. The middle class pays for both and is most out of pocket!

        • We need a middle class rebellion.

      • Most expensive in the world? Been to Singapore?

  • -1

    A motorbike 200cc or under only costs $100 CTP.
    I have a postie CT110, no insurance so CTP + $22 rego inspection + <$50 petrol is my only annual cost.

    • +28

      no insurance

      Can’t wait for your next post where you seek advice after punting your postie bike up the arse of a Porsche at the traffic lights. Should be a sensational kek-fest. Bookmarked for future reference…

      • -1

        I only average 3 or 4 kms per week, on back roads, stay away from other cars, and well under the speed limit.
        Why should I pay the same as someone that does tens of thousands of kms at high speed on main roads ?
        And pay for all the fraud that goes on ?
        After several years of no insurance and saving hundreds per year, I reckon I would still be ahead even in the unlikely event of an accident that was my fault.
        A low speed postie would be hard pressed to cause much damage in any event.

        • +1

          After several years of no insurance and saving hundreds per year…

          Several, what? like 3 or 10?

          I reckon I would still be ahead

          Average 3rd party for a cheap arse postie bike is about $170 / year. We math that out to $200 and multiply it by the number of years you haven't paid. That's 10 years to be safe. $200 x 10 = $2,000 (more like $170 x 5 = $850 saving. More than enough to cover any car accident.)

          The cracked rear bumper on most average cars, (not including Porsche,) is about $1~2,000 + labour + paint + maybe a hire car. A rear bumper replacement on an average car could set you back anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000.

          Now, let's say you come off your shitbox postie bike and it goes up under an oncoming car and that car loses control trying to avoid you and hits two other parked cars…

          Still think you're saving money?

          • @pegaxs: Yes, I see your point.
            I am taking a big risk.
            I just got a quote from NRMA and
            third party is $186 whilst comprehensive is just $122,
            for some reason.

            • +2

              @jm48: Hahaha… It's stupid. I had this years ago on a Landcruiser. It was $700 third party or $500 full comp. They said it was because most people only get third party and claim on that, so the bulk of claims for that model was third party, not comp. The same would be for the postie bike.

              And for $122 a year, all it takes is one stupid mistake and there being even the slightest bit of a chance you were in the wrong and the insurance hounds will be on you if they know you have no insurance. That's about 34 cents/day. That BMW rear bumper that you scratched would take 15 to 25 years of not paying insurance again to break even. Think you could stay accident free for 25 years?

              • +6

                @pegaxs: OK you convinced me, I will get the full comp.
                $122 is a negligible cost for peace of mind.

    • insurance is cheap, ammi will cover you for $100 a year, it's worth it.. then again if you do smash into someone the damage will be minimal anyway… unless its a koenigsegg

      any bike in nsw under 225cc is only $130, if i were to get my Ls today there'd be no question as to which bike, duke 200.. brilliant machine

  • +1

    I live 7km from the nearest public transport hub. Driving saves me 3+ hours a day of walking. The roads near me are unsafe for cyclists so you can rule that one out too.

  • +1

    It absolutely is a rip-off in Australia. But it would be impossible to go without for me for a slew of reasons. I'm sure it's possible if you live in the heart of the city, and you don't need to ever transport anything large or heavy or numerous, but that sounds like hell to me so it'll never happen.

  • $500 a year?? What car? Do you service at the dealership?

  • +1

    Do the environment a favour and take public transport

  • +1

    Since you've considered Car Next Door and found nothing nearby, you could consider listing your car instead? Solves your issue and you might get extra income

    • Not sure having strangers give zero fu*ks about ops car while he gets paid a pittance will really do him any favours.

      • +1

        99% of users are nice, and the 1% are quickly kicked off from the platform once reported. Comes tax time the car ownership costs throughout the year are tax deductible

  • GoGet, Uber, Electric Skateboard and Car Rentals for about 3-4 years now. Living in a central location helps. You'll definitely save a bucketload.

    • +2

      Living in a central location helps

      Might allow you to save on car costs, but is likely outweighed by the increased living costs.

  • +1

    I don’t understand the argument here. If you work full time and get $70k a year. You buy a good second hand car for $15k and use it for say 10+ years. Even it costs you $5000 a year you still only using 1/11 of your total wage after tax. I don’t see the problem here

  • +3

    This is crazy to me.

    I own a third vehicle, a 2002 Toyota Hiace van worth $3000 just for the convenience.

    Very little depreciation (estimate $500 in 4 years) $600 a year rego, $150 insurance, $50 oil/filter and wiper blades.

    I use it all the time for moving objects, camping in, gumtree pickups and hobby activities.

    I absolutely could not live my life with no vehicle.

    To not (within reason) have the option to just go where I want when I want, with what I want is inconceivable.

  • I had this exact thought earlier this year when my car had an electronic failure in the steering rack, which required the whole rack to be replaced. While my car was out of action, I started taking the bus, and realised it wasn't too bad. So I got rid of the damn thing and can't say that I miss it. Now we still have 1 car in the household which we use on weekends, so it's not like I've cut cars out completely, just trimmed the excess.

    Truth be told, I am considering getting a motorcycle to get some of the convenience of a vehicle back, so it's not all roses.

  • < 226cc motorcycle is great transport, get some saddle bags and you're set

  • Tally it up, car sharing isnt cheap. i used goget to rent vans, its $92 per day, so not a replacement for daily driver.

    Public transport isnt cheap and its takes far more of your time over the day (depending where you live).

    NSW cost of living is a rip off.

    • $92 a [email protected]#@ Thats expesnive but i guess you get free parking in city with it

      • +1

        Thats a Van. I think small car is under $50. Still OP 4 times a week, that's $200 a week, $800 a month. Can rent (lease) a high yeild investment Benz or BMW for that. Go anywhere you still need to payfor parking unless its the spot you picked it up from.

        Car sharing is seen as the future but do the actual sums and its a different story.

        Same way Tesla model 3 was supposed to be the affordable future but landed here with $70k+ base price, yeah not what was promised.

    • +12

      We aren't in America

  • . wrong post

  • +1

    I sort of agree, but the question i ponder is where do all the premiums for CTP go to- Say each person pays $500 and there are roughly 20million cars (16 million but round up). That's $10 billion dollars a year. I understand these go to pay for injuries etc which is great but where does rest of the premiums go to?

    • +1

      Where do they go? That is easy - Insurance companies profit margin.

      • Not all:

        Since 1999, insurer profits for green slip or compulsory third party (CTP) has sat at an average of 19 per cent; under the changes, their profits will drop to 8 per cent.

  • +1

    The only issue I have with car ownership is the ridiculously high registration fees we pay. Having multiple cars (3) really hurts in this regard as I can only drive one at a time. I would much prefer registration per person rather than per vehicle.

  • I was also thinking just do car inspection, without any servicing. But the mechanic told me that means I can only register the car as road worthy for 6 months, not a full year.

    Your mechanic is a liar. There's no rule that says you have to get your car serviced in order to get rego. You do need to keep your car in road worthy condition.

    You get a e-safety check for $42 and that entitles you to paying for 12 months rego.

    A service is ~$200 and it isn't unreasonable to expect a fe bits and pieces to need doing.

    Maybe you are better off selling your car and use GoGet or CND?

    I only do 4000km a year. It costs me $2k/year in rego/insurance/ etc before I even use the car. It's the cost of ownership but I like the convenience of being able to get in my car and go where I want occasionally.

  • Basically a monopoly run by the state gov/rta and insurance companies. As long as you're in power you can pretty much do anything

    You also forgot renewing car licence a piece of plastic with your photo on it costs approx $200 for 5 yrs

  • No. If you can stand relying on dodgy strangers or our shambolic public transport system to get you around, then sure. But most normal people see the benefit in being able to go wherever they want, whenever they want, in the confines of their own privacy.

    Cars are also a great place to spend dates (if ya know what I mean), sleep, eat, or just to have a closed off space when you want to get away from life. I really don't understand people who choose not to own a car.

  • +1

    Why do you still own a car. It is your choice right? No matter how you did your calculation, you decided to keep your car. Of course if you sell it, it is also your choice but you would not need to do this calculation again.

    Regarding rip off, energy companies, public transport, ATO, doctors, refugees, government, supermarkets, who is not trying to rip everyone off? Most people are born to be ripped off.

  • Is it fair to assume to you have no whinny kids and a cranky partner?

  • buying a new car will only cost you more.
    I bought a new car earlier this year, annual depreciation midpoint is ~2500 assuming I will keep it for 10 years, cost of comprehensive insurance & rego etc is another $2000.
    Cost of keeping it in total is ~$5000 every year for the next 10 years, averages to ~$100 per week for a weekend & holiday car.
    At the end of the day, you decide whether the extra $ is worth the convenience.

  • Don't worry, in the near future, no one will own a car, nor a garage for that matter. Cars will be driverless and cruising around all the time, so the cost of using one (/km) will be much lower.

    If you get flustered too much, you might not live long enough to enjoy the future of driverless vehicles.

    • Cars will be driverless and cruising around all the time

      So traffic will be absolutely horrendous then?

      • Will be better than now because everything will be automated and more efficient - e.g same small gap between vehicles vs big variable gaps now.

        • What they think will happen is, people will "save money" on parking by letting their cars drive around and then pick them up later when their appointment or whatever is done. If this happens, it will be a nightmare ;)

          • @bohn:

            it will be a nightmare

            Wrong. The exact opposite. The number of cars needed in the system will be substantially lower due to this.

            The car won't drive around aimlessly, it will pick up others. There might be shared ownership or usage rights.

            Try to think a bit broader than your current paradigm.

            • @ihbh: The logistics don't work out, it's the same flawed logic as "trickle down economics"

              Unless you can actually model it out, you're selling a pipe dream that has no basis in reality …

              • @weezlebub:

                The logistics don't work out

                Which part?

  • If you live in rural NSW cars are a luxury. Cheaper than public transport

    • A luxury? To which public transport are you referring?

    • +4

      I think you meant necessity for rural areas.

      A luxury is something expensive you have becuase you want it, not need it. In a rural area public transport is usually rubbish and having a car will not really be optional.

  • I was also thinking just do car inspection, without any servicing. But the mechanic told me that means I can only register the car as road worthy for 6 months, not a full year.

    Many many places are happy to just do the yearly inspection.
    Whether you get any additional maintainence or repairs done at time of inspection makes no difference as to the validity or expiry of the 'roadworthy' aka pink-slip.

    The 6 months, is how long the road worthy pink-slip is valid for .
    This means say your rego is due for annual renewal in 7 months from now, then you have road worthy pink-slip done any time between, 1 month from now, and time of rego renewal .

  • One solution, thinking outside of the box ….
    Buy a neighbour who is elderly pensioner or disabled pensioner a vehicle to share
    The pensioner can get cheaper rego (only pay insurance, no yearly fee from RTA/serviceNSW).

    You can buy cheap vehicles that don't require much(or any) maintainence. If you pick up an old Toyota Camry or similar (pre-96, as after that Toyota outsourced production overseas) , then they don't usually require much maintainence at all, they were built to last and mine just kept on going despite much abuse from me (I had 3 of them) .
    That's just an example, these old Camry's can easily be bought, in good condition, registered, for well under $1,000 .
    There are other examples I'm sure, of vehicles which are now reasonably cheap older vehicles, that are now known to have very little maintainence issues and costs.

  • Or is buying a new car worth it? This is an idea to not have to pay for the $500+ servicing fee.

    Not worth it, it's the other way around. $500 for a year of servicing an old car vs $500 lost EVERY MONTH in depreciation on a new car.

    Yes cars are expensive. Surprises me how many people take so long to have this "revelation."

    I lived without a car for nearly 2 years, it's possible. The tradeoff is a bit less convenience.

    • This. I made that exact mistake. I bought a brand new car and all I really want at this point in time is to go back and buy a used one instead, though at the time there were almost none available for the model I was after. About the only vehicle where buying new makes any sense is a new hybrid corolla/camry/RAV4, but only if you sell it within a year or two and only if Toyota don't massively increase production in the meantime.

  • +1

    TIL op is cheap. Catch public transport mate. If you're adding up every cent then car ownership is not for you.

  • Thanks for me being in a state where no yearly inspections and 2 never thought of car expenses because the time it saves is invaluable :)

  • You said you spent ~$2,000 to run a car per year. That is ~$40 a week. You take for trips a week, so $10 a trip.

    If you replaced it with a taxi (oh no), it could be around $20 a trip, or $4000 a year.

    If you replaced it with a hire car, and only drove on the weekends, it might cost $30 a trip ($100 hire and $20 fuel), or $6,250 a year.

    If you upgrade to a micro car, like a KIA Picanto, it might cost you $25 per trip, or $5,000 a year (bigger, more expensive cars cost more).

    If you replaced it with walking the 70km each week, you will probably stop going out. That might have effects on your mental health.

  • I've hit the point where I ride my bike to a local transport hub, bus or train to wherever I need to go and back and ride home

    If I have to transport something bulky I'll gladly go online and pay for delivery costs or spend $20 to get it home in an Uber

  • We are a two car household and I didn't time my last car purchase very well so now both rego and insurance for both cars are due in the same month. This means close to $3k of outgoings in December ($600 rego + $900 comprehensive insurance each), which is a tough pill to swallow especially around the silly season.

    I've changed my rego payments to be quarterly, and my insurance to monthly payments to try an even out the spend but am paying more overall as a result. I suppose I should put away a little each month instead but yes OP, I think car ownership is totally a rip off.

  • A good road bicycle and some hot pink lycra will get you where you need to go.

  • Plenty of people abandoning their cars in Sydney - traffic is just getting worse and getting a park is becoming increasingly difficult. Unless you're out in the suburbs and need it for work/kids - then you're stuffed.

    It's why the Go Get outfit and similar are so successful.

    Me, i use buses. In fact i need to catch one right now…

    • +2

      Plenty of people abandoning Sydney!

  • +1

    I set aside $70 every week to cover car expenses, Rego, pink/green slips, as well as repairs when needed.

    No train station nearby but my rent is $45 lower per week compared to a similar unit close to a train station so that offsets the cost somewhat. Mostly commute by bus to work which is actually cheaper than trains.

    My job nature requires visits to client sites which may not be accessible by public transport. Also allows family to drive to places/picnic spots during holidays that would not be accessible otherwise. Recently drove a relative to hospital late at night when they were sick.

    So yes not all benefits can be quantified especially if you're a family or a couple.

  • +1

    I spend a bit less than you per year, maybe just over $1k. I walk to work so I drive my car less than you. Probably less than 2000kms per year. But I really enjoy driving my car so I don't consider it a rip off at all.

    If I didn't enjoy driving it or the freedom of being able to drive to places then I would go car-less since public transport is decent enough where I live. I have coworkers who dislike car ownership but still own a car even though public transport where they live is pretty good.

  • Buy a motorbike

  • Just some quick ideas to generate thoughts/discussion/rants and debates while i'm on the train to work,

    1. get a classic old school car, that will hopefully appreciate in value and get it club rego'd. (in Vic you can club reg for much cheaper than full reg)
    2. land a job where a company car is included
    3. is novated lease/salary sacrifice an option? maybe not given the low km's, but maybe someone has some experience?
  • +2

    Pay to play, this goes for pretty much everything in life, there is always a cheaper way but it costs you elsewhere, time, health, safety, sanity etc.
    Clearly a car is just an appliance to OP and doesn't like driving given the details about money spent.
    If OP already identifies how much it costs him, he should sell it and use ubers or cabs or other car hire options on the few occasions he uses one.
    If OP can't live without the car he complains costs him so much then either suck it up and deal with it like everyone else who can't avoid car ownership, or downgrade to something cheaper to run and buy some tools and learn how to service your own car so you're not paying for someone else to do stuff like oil changes, brake pads etc that you could do yourself.
    I find it baffling how some people can be totally unpractical for things that can be taught or learnt while complaining about money.
    If you don't have hands on skills then upgrade other skills in life via education and get a better job so the money isn't as big of an issue!

  • +1

    work out cost of your travel? if was done in uber or taxi if less then what you pay now for you car it cheap not to own a car.

  • -2

    I'd like to see rego reduced significantly and petrol price increased to offset. Pay for use.

    • 42c a litre fuel excise (plus GST) isn't enough for you?

      • I drive 2,000km a year so I’d rather you pay more for driving more. An extra 40c / litre would be fine, funneled back in to offset the rego.

        • Herp derp, you already pay more for driving more, due to the fuel excise.

          • -1

            @brendanm: facepalm comprehension isn’t strong with you is it

            • +1

              @zqipz: My comprehension is fine. If you don't want to drive much, that's on you.

              Perhaps my taxes shouldn't be used to subsidise public transport then.

  • +1

    Interesting thread. I'm interested to know if you have undertaken a comparative analysis on time taken between driving & using public transport. Everything in the world cost money, and the same goes for time (as time = $ if you want to quantify things). For me, I save at least 1-hour of daily commute time when I drive in to work; is it worth the cost of up-keeping the car? Absolutely!

  • They are a waste of money, if you can get away with not having to drive you will be in front. $15 a day max in NSW is a steal.

  • It could work out better value to Uber/Ola everywhere local and just rent a car for any longer trips away.

  • +2

    Well worth the cost if you ask me. A car is freedom, and it's fun to head off on a drive even with no place in mind. Even if you don't drive it much, the 2-3k a year you might spend on running a car is well worth it for the convenience. Costs can be reduced significantly by purchasing a second hand car around 4-5 years old. Still fresh and plenty of life left in it, but the biggest depreciation hit has already happened. Public transport is also very expensive and inconvenient. Registration is the biggest rip off, but that's our greedy government for you. Why it costs hundreds of $$ to register a car or transfer registration I dont know, it is just pure greed. Driving in Sydney can be very stressful these days so I understand why some people get rid of their car or are driving less, traffic is insane and parking is difficult too. But if you live in the suburbs, owning a car is pretty necessary.

    • Dont disagree with anything you've said but in Victoria at least most of the rego is actually the compulsory third party insurance. The Insurance that pays your medical treatment if you are severely injured in a bad car accident (TAC). The cost of treatment keeps going up so insurance has to pay out more, higher medical bills, higher premiums.

  • Car ownership in Australia is a rip off due to higher insurance and registration costs.

    In America the cost of a 10year license and registration is significantly cheaper than in Australia.

    • A lot of things are cheaper in the US, including wages.

  • For some peoples location the car saves a lot of time. So you can look at it as a time machine. You can't buy time. Not so rip off after all.

  • -1

    do some cost if weekend u got uber or taxi to place you need to go or what to go? if cost less than cost of your car your on winner do you used car to go on holidays? you could cost in 7 days of rent a car for road trip?? Went i was live in Brisbane CBD with cost parking it cost of keep it i sold my car it worked for me only got a car went moved back regional PT suck up here.

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