The Cost of Living in Australia

Today sees the launch of a new category on BobinOz. It’s called the Cost of Living in Australia. It strikes me that anybody interested in coming to live in Australia permanently, would be very interested in knowing how much it costs to live here. Call it a hunch.

If you are looking for a short and quick answer to that question, here it is. Some things are cheaper, a lot cheaper. Some things are dearer, a lot dearer. But for the average consumer, buying average things in average quantities (whoever that person might be), the bottom line is your outgoings here will not be too much different from your outgoings in England.

But I suspect you may just want a more detailed answer than that, which is why I have started this new category. And today’s subject?

The price of petrol in Australia.

The quirky thing about the price of petrol in Australia is best explained with these two photographs.

Yes, it’s a roller coaster. Can you see how it goes round and round following the same pattern each time, going up and down in the same places? Let’s take a closer look….

Notice how the consumers of this ride, as they approach the peak, hold both their hands up in the air as if they are being robbed.

Now I would like to show you the price of petrol (unleaded – February 2009) as monitored by me, over a period of one week.


If I had monitored it for one month, you will have seen exactly the same pattern as above repeat itself four times. The patterns of ups and downs is as predictable as that roller coaster. Petrol here is always cheapest on a Wednesday and it always gets more expensive as the weekend approaches. By Friday and Saturday consumers may as well hold both their hands up in the air as if they are being robbed. Just like on the roller coaster.

But of course, we are not being robbed as much as those of you who live in the UK. Our petrol is almost, but not quite, half the price of petrol in England. On the other hand if you are reading this from Iran, where it is about 8 cents per litre, you will at last have something to cheer you up.

And talking about 8 cents per litre, that’s how much petrol is due to rise by here tomorrow. The first of July marks the beginning of the new financial year here in Australia and with it the implementation of the Queensland government’s new budget.

Apparently, the eight cents a litre was a subsidy which the government has decided to cut due to the fact they are now almost skint. Other fundraisers for them are an additional 20% on the cost of car registrations, a 15% increase on the cost of electricity and an average 10% increase on rates.

Anyway, back to the petrol. I monitored the price today – Tues 30th – it was $1.199. So already 10 cents up on four months ago. With the subsidy gone and the Dick Turpin effect coming into play on Saturday, I predict prices will hit $1.45 per litre at the weekend.

Everyone here will be moaning about the price of petrol, but not me. After paying English prices for 30 years I know when I am well off. As for my new category, the Cost of Living in Australia, the battle has begun.

And it’s round one to Australia.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • John Wilkes February 17, 2010, 11:09 am |

    ‘Round one to Australia’….. not so quick please Bob. It’s the cost per mile or kilometer of running a car that counts. I have an Audi A4 that I bought secondhand ( pre-owned / pre-loved as they say in Oz ). I seem to remember that it would have cost twice as much over there , so have checked it out . I compared a 2002 A4 1.8 lt. in Autotrader (U.K.) with the same model in The Melbourne Age taking the average price from a dealer. Flipping heck ! ( I couldn’t use the original words ). The £5000 savings in the U.K.would mean playing catch-up with cheaper petrol in Oz would take over five years on 12,000 miles per year by which time you’re on your next car ! I did notice that a driving licence was cheaper in Oz . Was it $70 against £50 in the U.K. ? Oh dear ! That’s another one ! It’s not for the same length of time. The U.K. one lasts a lifetime ( renewable at 70 for free ) . The O.Z. one at $70 is renewable after 5 years … which works out at $770 using the law of averages ……it was cheaper , but will get dearer. My friends , the ones I have left , reckon I talk too much , don’t know were they get that idea from . Just in case you think I’m Anti – Australia ….. Australians let us all rejoice for we are young and free……..I know all the words. Now to shock you……I intend to spend half the year in Australia when I retire …you see I’m a greedy b…..d I want the best of both countries .

    • BobinOz February 17, 2010, 5:25 pm |

      Hi John

      It’s good to hear from you again. I love your dedication and effort when it comes to putting your point across. You are absolutely, 100% right in everything you say. Unfortunately……

      This is a post comparing the price of petrol between Australia and the UK. Nothing else. If I were to do a post comparing the cost of a driving licence between the UK and Australia, then the UK would win.

      As for doing a post comparing the cost of second hand cars between UK Australia, I already have and I too had the same “flipping heck” moment that you did! Same thing with new cars. Yes, Australia has already lost their head-to-head battle with the UK and you can read that post here, cost of cars compared.

      On the other hand, if I were to do a post on comparing the cost of running a car, mile for mile or kilometre for kilometre, then I would no doubt come to the same conclusions as you have. Hey, I might even ask you to write a post for me.

      As for your retirement plan, that sounds like a really great idea. When are you coming over? Where are you going to live? Perhaps we can meet up for a beer and you can have another flipping heck moment when you find out how much a pint is.


  • BobinOz January 27, 2010, 9:57 pm |

    Well, we’ve only owned one car since we got here. It had 118,000 km on it when we bought it. After just over a year, our first year, it went up to 139,000 km. So we did 21,000 km in our first year which isn’t too bad because we were driving everywhere, we were exploring.

    The car currently has 163,000 km on it, (which includes our road trip, you have read about our road trip haven’t you?) so we have done 45,000 km since we arrived in Australia. So, give or take an inch, we are doing around 12,000 miles a year.

    Can’t remember what we used to do in England, but I think it was less, but the driving here has been so much more fun!

  • mj January 27, 2010, 5:52 am |

    Petrol certainly is cheaper over there, but it would be interesting to see id the typical Aussie household actually spends less on fuel.

    Cities over there are more spread out with bigger houses on bigger plots and wider streets. That has many advantages but it does mean that you are far less likely to be able to quickly pop to the shops or the local school or for an evening out without taking the car.

    And as for driving between different towns and cities, here, an afternoon shopping, a visit to friends or an evening out in the next city might only be a short hop down the road, in oz it’s usually a 24 hour overnight trek through the bush dodging kamikaze kangaroos and psychopathic lorry drivers.

  • Anne Morgan January 16, 2010, 4:36 am |

    Dear Bob

    Just got our SS Visa to Victoria (Melbourne) granted so am now reading everything avidly trying to work out what’s what and whether we come over now or save a bit more so everything on your sight is VERY useful and interesting.


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