The ‘sting’ in summer road trips: how families could slash costs on popular holiday routes

11.01.24 By

Hitting the open road this summer is going to sting Aussies at the bowser, with petrol prices remaining high around the country. But new analysis from the Climate Council shows driving a lower or zero emissions vehicle could slash petrol bills to a quarter of what Sydney drivers, and around a fifth of what Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra drivers, would otherwise pay. 

The analysis shows drivers on popular holiday routes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra can make big savings on the journey with a battery electric vehicle or a more fuel-efficient petrol car, compared with the average petrol-guzzling car in the Aussie fleet. Charging with solar could bring even greater savings for EV drivers. 

Drivers taking their families on holiday by charging a battery electric vehicle pay only a quarter (24%) of the cost of filling up an average petrol car in New South Wales, a fifth (21%) in Victoria, and almost a fifth in Queensland (19-20%) and the Australian Capital Territory (17%). 

Climate Council Head of Advocacy, Dr Jennifer Rayner, said: “The great Aussie road trip is a summer tradition for many families. But these days, hitting the open road comes at a huge cost to our hip pockets, as well as to our environment. 

“We need cars that use far less fuel to help save Aussies money and cut pollution. They’re out there, but there aren’t enough of them available to buyers.

“The Federal Government can help by putting strong fuel efficiency standards in place as soon as possible so everyone has access to cleaner cars that help slash Aussie petrol bills. Every day we delay putting national standards in place, Australians are missing out and paying too much.”

Climate Councillor and economist, Nicki Hutley, said: “Fuel consumption is a major consideration when choosing a car. Seven in 10 drivers say they’re changing their driving habits, including avoiding taking road trips, in response to skyrocketing fuel prices.

“Having cleaner cars that are cheaper to run will help relieve the cost of living pressure on Aussie households. We’ve crunched the numbers and electric cars deliver the biggest savings but even choosing a more fuel-efficient car can generate big savings. 

“The best part is, you don’t have to own an electric car to drive one. Hiring an electric vehicle for your next trip is a great option. With rental prices starting from $70-150 per day in major cities, it’s cost-effective for longer journeys. That leaves more money in our wallets to enjoy the summer holidays.”


For interviews please contact Zerene Catacutan on 0438 972 260, or Jemimah Taylor on ‭0478 924 425‬,

Fuel costs of common road trips – average car vs. battery electric vehicle

JourneyAverage passenger carBattery electric vehicle (grid charging)Cost savings between these types of vehicles
NSW (Syd > Huskisson)$38$9$29
NSW (Syd > Merimbula)$93$22$71
NSW/QLD (Syd > Gold Coast)$172$41$131
NSW/VIC (Syd > Melbourne)$181$43$137
NSW/VIC (Syd > Great Ocean Rd)$220$53$167
VIC (Melb > Great Ocean Rd)$42$9$33
VIC/NSW (Melb > Syd)$178$38$139
VIC/SA (Melb > Nullabor)$378$82$297
QLD (Bris > Noosa)$32$6$25
QLD (Bris > Syd)$196$40$156
QLD (Bris > Cairns)$368$75$293
ACT (Canberra > Huskisson)$40$7$33
ACT (Canberra > Melbourne)$136$23$113
ACT (Canberra > Byron Bay)$213$36$177

Fuel costs of common road trips – average car vs. more efficient petrol car

JourneyAverage passenger carMore efficient petrol carCost savings between these types of vehicles
NSW (Syd > Huskisson)$38$16$23
NSW (Syd > Merimbula)$93$38$56
NSW/QLD (Syd > Gold Coast)$172$70$103
NSW/VIC (Syd > Melbourne)$181$73$107
NSW/VIC (Syd > Great Ocean Rd)$220$89$131
VIC (Melb > Great Ocean Rd)$42$17$25
VIC/NSW (Melb > Syd)$178$72$106
VIC/SA (Melb > Nullabor)$378$153$225
QLD (Bris > Noosa)$32$13$19
QLD (Bris > Syd)$196$79$116
QLD (Bris > Cairns)$368$149$219
ACT (Canberra > Huskisson)$40$16$24
ACT (Canberra > Melbourne)$136$55$81
ACT (Canberra > Byron Bay)$213$86$127


Three vehicles were used for this analysis: the average Australian passenger vehicle defined by ABS (11.1L/100km fuel consumption), an efficient internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle (Skoda Fabia, 4.5L/100km fuel consumption) and a battery electric vehicle (BEV) (BYD Atto 3 Extended, 60.5 kWh battery and 420 km range). The vehicle models compared are all listed as 2WD wagons on the Green Vehicle Guide. Fuel costs refer to the week ended 10 December for 2023, these are broken down by state with NSW and ACT combined. Electricity costs are prices as of 11 December 2023 and broken down by state grid usage. Note: Solar EV charging can be significantly cheaper, while public standard AC and fast DC charging can be slightly more expensive (45-65c/kWh). Where a journey crosses into another state, the fuel and electricity costs of the origin state are used throughout. BEV charging costs = EV battery size (kWh) multiplied by electricity rate ($ per kWh), divided by the vehicle range for $ per km and multiplied by trip km.

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