An RAC study has shown owning a car in WA has become more affordable this year.
The RAC’s 2018 Vehicle Operating Costs survey says the average weekly cost of running a new car has dropped about $4 over the past 12 months, dropping to $212.86.
The annual study looked at 140 new cars across 14 categories, taking factors such as purchase price, on-road costs, interest rates, depreciation, fuel, servicing and other maintenance into consideration to find out the weekly cost of each vehicle.
RAC vehicles and sustainability manager Alex Forrest said motorists needed to consider ongoing costs when buying a new car.
“Depreciation is by far the single biggest cost of owning a new car, on average making up 43 per cent of the cost over five years,” he said.
“On-road costs such as stamp duty and registration make up 21 per cent of running costs, while fuel accounts for 11 per cent, which are all costs motorists have little control over.”
Forrest, who also writes the Idle Torque column for WestWHEELS, said the overall reduction in running costs could have been larger if not for increases in areas such as fuel and registration.
“Unleaded petrol is up 9c per litre compared to last year, an increase of $108 a year for an average car,” he said. “Over the past two years, registration fees have also increased by more than 10 per cent in total.”
The cars in the survey are mainly mainstream cars — there aren’t any squillion- dollar supercars taken into consideration — but entry models from luxury brands were included.
This year the reigning value king abdicated. For the past three years, the Suzuki Celerio was named the most affordable car to own but Suzuki axed it from its line-up last August.
This opened the door for its micro car rival, the Mitsubishi Mirage ES, to take out the title of most affordable car.
The Mirage ES was helped by having the lowest list price of any car in Australia ($12,250) and its running costs — fuel, tyres and servicing — amounted to just $12.39 a week.
Suzuki still had winners, though, with the Swift GL and Vitara RT-S taking out the light car and small SUV segments respectively.
In the biggest-selling segments, the Kia Cerato showed why it has boomed in popularity recently by being the cheapest small car, while Haval backed up its win last year with the H6 once again the most affordable medium SUV, just pipping the Kia Sportage.
Typically, this survey shows there’s a price premium to pay to opt for an SUV over a passenger car of the same size, but this year was different.
While a small SUV costs more than a small car, the cheapest medium SUVs and passenger cars have reached price parity, while the Subaru Outback 2.5i was cheaper per week than the Holden Commodore RS.
Speaking of the Commodore, the imported version is slightly more expensive to own per week than the old homegrown product, with the RS costing $220.44 compared with the Evoke’s $211.09 last year.
The Mitsubishi Triton lived up to its reputation of being the best-value mainstream ute, winning the 2×4 and 4×4 categories.
Its Pajero Sport sibling also offers good value, being the cheapest large off-road SUV to own.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Mercedes-Benz proved to be consistently more expensive than its luxury brand competitors, with the priciest entrant in the medium car, large car, small SUV and medium SUV categories.
This was mainly because of a combination of higher depreciation and service costs, depending on the model, though the Volvo V40 stopped Benz from taking an unwanted sweep across all of its categories.
Despite its popularity, Toyota also features highly on the most expensive list.
Electric cars remain the costliest to own each week, with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV’s $251.21 being the highest mark of any category winner.
The Tesla Model S and Model X were once again easily the most expensive of the cars in the study to own, though this is mainly because of their purchase price being far higher than other cars in the study.
Each Tesla costs north of $100k before on-roads, but interestingly their weekly running costs are in the $12 range, the same as the victorious Mitsubishi Mirage.