2. Vehicle operating cost (VOC) components

This chapter contains the unit values for the following vehicle operating cost (VOC) components:

  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Tyres
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • New vehicles (for estimation of depreciation).

2.1 Fuel prices

Fuel price data were obtained from FuelTrac for urban centres (capital cities and towns) across jurisdictions in Australia for the following fuel types:

  • Petrol – unleaded petrol (ULP) and premium (PULP)
  • Diesel
  • LPG and
  • Ethanol fuels.

Retail prices were adjusted in terms of taxes (GST and fuel excise) and applicable subsidies and rebates / tax credits to reflect resource prices for these components. Detailed retail and resource price data across all areas for all fuel types are contained in Appendix A. Retail and resource price data for capital cities are contained in Table 2.1 while weighted average resource prices for petrol (ULP and PULP) and diesel are presented in Table 2.2.

2.1.1 Fuel excise

From March 2001 to June 2014, the fuel excise was fixed at 38.143 cents per litre. Changes to fuel excise proposed in the Federal budget for 2014–1, involved a reintroduction of indexation of the fuel excise on a twice-yearly basis. If accepted and eventually introduced, this would be included in future parameter values updates for the ATAP Guidelines.

2.1.2 Fuel tax credits

Changes to fuel tax credit schemes were initiated from 1 July 2013. The fuel tax credit applicable from that date to heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) greater than 4.5 tonnes travelling on public roads is 12.003 cents per litre for liquid fuels, especially diesel (Australian Taxation Office, 2013). Vehicles used for off road purposes in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors are eligible for a fuel tax credit of 38.143 cents per litre (equivalent to the fuel excise). These fuel tax credits are not reflected in the price data in Table 2.1 as they came into effect from 1 July 2013 and, furthermore, were not applicable to all diesel sold.

2.1.3 Road user charge

The road user charge applicable to fuel used in heavy vehicles from 1 July 2013 (Australian Taxation Office, 2013) was set at 26.14 cents per litre, with the fuel tax credit set at 12.003 cents per litre. This can be incorporated into future parameter values updates for the ATAP Guidelines.

2.1.4 Fuel subsidy schemes

Fuel subsidy schemes were withdrawn from Queensland (8.354 cents per litre) from June 2009, Northern Territory (1.1 cents per litre) from May 2009 and South Australia (3.3 cents per litre) from September 2010. These changes are reflected in the calculation of resource prices in Table 2.1 and Table A.1 in Appendix A.

2.1.5 Fuel price estimates for capital cities

Retail and resource price estimates for all applicable fuel types for each capital city as at 30 June 2013 are set out in Table 2.1. The resource prices for each fuel type reflect GST and fuel excise (38.143 cents per litre for all fuel types except LPG and 12.5 cents per litre for LPG).

Table 1: Capital city fuel prices – retail and resource prices as at 30 June 2013 (cents per litre)
Capital cityULPPULPDieselLPGEthanol
 Retail price(1)Resource priceRetail price(1)Resource priceRetail price(1)Resource priceRetail price(1)Resource priceRetail price(1)Resource price
Sydney 145.6 94.2 157.5 105.0 147.6 96.0 64.7 46.3 143.4 117.9
Melbourne 144.8 93.5 156.2 103.9 144.6 93.3 57.9 40.1 138.9 113.8
Brisbane 149.4 97.7 161.8 109.0 148.5 96.9 64.7 46.3 147.6 121.7
Adelaide 144.9 93.6 156.6 104.2 147.8 96.2 68.0 49.3 na na
Perth 147.0 95.5 159.6 107.0 147.7 96.1 69.3 50.5 na na
Hobart 151.3 99.4 165.9 112.7 152.5 100.5 88.9 68.3 na na
Darwin 160.9 108.1 170.5 116.9 161.5 108.7 105.9 83.8 na na
Canberra 146.4 95.0 159.2 106.6 147.3 95.8 78.7 59.0 144.5 118.9

1 Fueltrac (retail price data generated as at 30 June 2013)

2 Resource prices calculated by ARRB Group Ltd

Source: Fueltrac (data generated as at 30 June 2013)

The prices in Table 2.1 were then weighted in terms of sales volumes data (especially the case for petrol) to provide weighted average fuel prices per capital city contained in Table 2.2.

Table 2: Weighted average fuel price by capital city – resource prices at 30 June 2013 (cents per litre)
Capital cityFuel type (cents/litre)
 Petrol
(weighted averageby volume)
DieselLPGEthanol
Sydney 96.5 96.0 46.3 117.9
Melbourne 94.5 93.3 40.1 113.8
Brisbane 99.4 96.9 46.3 121.7
Adelaide 94.5 96.2 49.3 na
Perth 97.0 96.1 50.5 na
Hobart 101.4 100.5 68.3 na
Darwin 109.5 108.7 83.8 na
Average (Weighted) 96.7 95.7 45.5 118.3

Source: Fueltrac (data generated as at 30 June 2013)

Fuel prices across all jurisdictions and local areas are presented in Table A.1 in Appendix A.

2.1.6 Emission conversion factors

The most recent emission conversion factors for all fuel types are provided in Appendix B for appropriate vehicle types and age classifications. The emissions factors have been calculated by BITRE, based on averaging results of various models such as BITRE MVEm (which includes calibrations using NISE1 and NISE2 data, such as reported by FORS and Orbital Australia) and COPERT for Australia (http://www.emisia.com/content/copert-australia). They have been compared with summary results reported in NGGIC 2006 and the National Inventory Report 2012 (Department of the Environment, 2014).

2.2 Oil

A survey was undertaken of retail outlets for small volume sales (1 litre and 4 litre containers) mainly for oil used in petrol engines, as well as oil companies for large containers (209 litres) of engine oil sold in bulk to road freight transport operators for use in diesel engines. The market and resource prices obtained from the surveys across vehicle types are presented in Table 2.3. The prices for diesel engine oils were therefore lower than might be expected due to the inclusion of larger containers in the sample. This was not the case in previous unit values surveys, which relied primarily on retail outlets for the sample.

Table 3: Oil prices ($ per litre) per vehicle type, as at June $2013
Engine typeMarket price ($ per litre)Resource price ($ per litre)
Petrol 7.66 6.96
Diesel 4.64 4.22

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Where a vehicle type, e.g. LCVs, includes petrol and diesel engines, the oil price can be weighted in terms of the vehicle population using the road or in that jurisdiction. Using SMVU data for this vehicle type, a weighted average engine oil price was calculated for LCVs given that this vehicle type includes petrol or diesel engines[1]. Using this methodology, the engine oil price for LCVs was estimated at a market price of $6.15 per litre and resource price of $5.59 per litre.

2.3 Tyres

A survey of tyre prices for all vehicle types[2] was undertaken through a sample of retail outlets and tyre companies and these data are contained in Table 2.4. Data are presented for market prices and resource prices per vehicle type. Where appropriate, for heavy vehicles, the prices per new tyre are a weighted average between the drive tyres and trailer tyres. The number of tyres per set and the resource price per set of new tyres are also presented in the table, the latter being deducted from the resource price of new vehicles for depreciation purposes.

Table 4: New tyre prices per vehicle type ($ per tyre), as at June $2013
Vehicle typeMarket price
($ per new tyre)
Resource price
($ per new tyre)
Number of tyres per setResource price
($ per set of new tyres)
Cars
01. Small Car 98 89 4 356
02. Medium Car 128 116 4 464
03. Large Car 167 151 4 604
Average 136 123 4 492
Utility vehicles
04. Courier Van-Utility 171 155 4 620
05. 4WD Mid Size Petrol 306 278 4 1,112
Rigid trucks
06. Light Rigid 247 224 4 897
07. Medium Rigid 507 461 6 2,764
08. Heavy Rigid 728 662 10 6,618
Bus
09. Heavy Bus 493 448 8 3,584
Articulated
10. Artic 4 Axle 676 614 14 8,600
11. Artic 5 Axle 690 627 18 11,291
12. Artic 6 Axle 686 624 22 13,720
Combination vehicles
13. Rigid + 5 Axle Dog 660 600 30 18,000
14. B-Double 653 594 34 20,196
15. Twin steer + 5 Axle Dog 690 627 32 20,064
16. A-Double 682 620 42 26,040
17. B Triple 689 626 46 28,796
18. A B Combination 653 594 54 32,076
19. A-Triple 688 625 62 38,750
20. Double B-Double 688 625 66 41,250

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

The resource price per retreaded tyre and resource price per set of retreaded tyres are presented in the table below.

Table 5: Retreaded tyre prices ($ per tyre) per vehicle type, June $2013
Vehicle typeResource price
($ per retreaded tyre)
Resource price
($ per set of retreaded tyres)
Cars
01. Small Car 48 194
02. Medium Car 58 232
03. Large Car 68 273
Average 61 245
Utility vehicles
04. Courier Van-Utility 78 310
05. 4WD Mid Size Petrol 139 556
Rigid trucks
06. Light Rigid 149 596
07. Medium Rigid 200 1,201
08. Heavy Rigid 222 2,218
Bus
09. Heavy Bus 161 1,290
Articulated
10. Artic 4 Axle 222 3,106
11. Artic 5 Axle 214 3,855
12. Artic 6 Axle 220 4,845
Combination vehicles
13. Rigid + 5 Axle Dog 227 6,817
14. B-Double 225 7,648
15. Twin steer + 5 Axle Dog 227 7,258
16. A-Double 248 10,416
17. B Triple 249 11,466
18. A B Combination 241 13,006
19. A-Triple 253 15,713
20. Double B-Double 253 16,726

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

2.4 Repairs and maintenance

For passenger cars and light vehicles, the repairs and maintenance costs used in previous Austroads unit values updates (Austroads, 2012a) were updated using an average of the CPI for vehicle maintenance and repairs and the CPI for motor vehicle spares. For heavy vehicles, repairs and maintenance costs were updated using an average of the PPI for road freight and the PPI for auto parts. This differs from the methodology used in the previous Austroads unit values update (Austroads, 2012a), which used the PPI for road freight only. The repairs and maintenance costs per vehicle type are contained in Table 2.6. The estimates based on percentage of new vehicle price as used in the adapted HDM-4 models (including estimated time costs for labour) are also presented for comparison purposes. The table shows that there is a reasonable correspondence between the costs based on the PPI update and that based on percentage of new vehicle price with a labour cost component (HDM approach), except for several of the combination vehicle types due to the specification of those vehicles and the new vehicle prices involved.

Table 6: Repairs and maintenance costs per vehicle type, as at June 2013
Vehicle typeRepairs & maintenance costs (cents per km) based on PPIRepairs & maintenance costs (cents per km) based on % new vehicle price
Cars
01. Small Car 6.1 7.1
02. Medium Car 7.1 8.1
03. Large Car 5.7 9.3
Average 6.3 8.2
Utility vehicles
04. Courier Van-Utility 6.7 6.7
05. 4WD Mid Size Petrol 8.2 8.2
Rigid trucks
06. Light Rigid 6.1 7.5
07. Medium Rigid 13.1 10.7
08. Heavy Rigid 14.0 16.8
Buses
09. Heavy Bus 13.1 13.1
Articulated trucks
10. Artic 4 Axle 19.1 18.9
11. Artic 5 Axle 22.2 19.5
12. Artic 6 Axle 22.8 18.0
Combination vehicles
13. Rigid + 5 Axle Dog 25.2 22.7
14. B-Double 26.5 27.6
15. Twin steer + 5 Axle Dog 27.2 30.5
16. A-Double 28.3 37.7
17. B Triple 35.3 47.1
18. A B Combination 34.7 45.3
19. A-Triple 36.3 46.2
20. Double B-Double 39.2 47.7

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

Vehicle repair and maintenance costs were also compared to available servicing costs from sources such as the RACV. Summarised data from these sources are contained in Table 2.7. The servicing costs do not seem to be significantly different to those estimated by the PPI update, and are closer to those values than the HDM approach (% of new vehicle price).

Table 7: Average servicing costs for selected vehicle types as published by RACV, June 2013
Vehicle typeAverage vehicle servicing costs (cents per km)
Small car 7.0
Medium car 7.6
Large car 5.5
Average car 6.7
Medium SUV 6.7
Two wheel drive utility vehicle 6.1
Four wheel drive utility 8.2

Source: RACV

2.5 Vehicle prices

Average new vehicle prices for passenger cars and LCVs (utility/delivery vehicles) were obtained from the Automotive Data Services (www.redbook.com.au), while new vehicle prices for heavy commercial vehicles were updated using an average of the PPI for road freight, PPI for motor vehicles and the PPI for vehicle bodies and trailers to give a more representative index for the change in new vehicle prices. These prices were also compared to available sources, namely: http://www.trucksales.com.au and FreightMetrics (www.freightmetrics.com.au). The resource price for each vehicle type in Table 2.8 involved the deduction of a 5% fleet discount, GST and the resource price per set of tyres applicable to that vehicle type, as presented in Table 2.4.

Table 8: New vehicle prices, as at June $2013
Vehicle typeMarket price ($ per vehicle)Resource price ($ per vehicle)
Cars
01. Small Car 18,770 15,855
02. Medium Car 29,070 24,645
03. Large Car 41,467 35,204
Average 29,766 25,217
Utility vehicles
04. Courier Van-Utility 34,203 28,919
05. 4WD Mid Size Petrol 57,280 48,357
Rigid trucks
06. Light Rigid 56,511 47,913
07. Medium Rigid 139,521 117,726
08. Heavy Rigid 225,004 187,756
Buses
09. Heavy Bus 322,571 275,000
Articulated
10. Artic 4 Axle 305,732 255,450
11. Artic 5 Axle 341,347 283,509
12. Artic 6 Axle 373,497 308,840
Combination vehicles
13. Rigid + 5 Axle Dog 340,037 275,668
14. B-Double 436,881 357,110
15. Twin steer + 5 Axle Dog 410,015 334,040
16. A-Double 552,824 451,399
17. B Triple 707,382 582,125
18. A B Combination 611,048 495,647
19. A-Triple 707,011 571,850
20. Double B-Double 690,398 555,003

Source: ARRB Group Ltd.

[1] The proportion of petrol and diesel engine LCVs was based on SMVU (2012) data available at time of calculation.

[2] Using the 20 vehicle classification as developed for use in the harmonisation studies, which employed the Australian adaptation and calibration of the HDM models that have also been adopted for the vehicle operating cost (VOC) modelling chapter of this Part. This is explained further in Appendix C, including how this relates to the Austroads 12 bin classification.