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21 March 2011

  • Adelaide leapfrogs Hobart, Darwin and Perth to become Australia’s car friendliest city
  • Gawler, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta lead the regional category
  • Sydney drivers experience the most pain as the iconic city stays at rock bottom

South Australia is home to Australia’s car friendliest cities according to new research from Virgin Car Insurance. With drivers paying the least amount for petrol and tolls in Australia, Adelaide won out in the capital city category while Gawler, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta placed first, second and third respectively in the regional category. Sydney lagged behind as the country’s least friendly car city for the second year running.

This is the 2nd year of research from Virgin Car Insurance which looks at a number of variables, such as the cost of car insurance, petrol prices, parking fines, theft and tolls. This year, Adelaide leapfrogged Hobart, Darwin and Perth to claim the crown.

Nick Larkworthy, spokesman for Virgin Car Insurance, commented on the results:

“Drivers in South Australia should count themselves lucky. Compared to the rest of the country, they’re getting a good deal when it comes to petrol, insurance, fines and tolls. The next time you cop a parking fine in Adelaide, spare a thought for Sydney drivers who will pay around 50% more.”

“Sydney may be well regarded as one of the world’s most liveable cities, but that’s certainly not the case when it comes to owning a car. Skyrocketing costs when it comes to tolls, insurance and parking fines means more pain for Sydney drivers. The cost of running a car in Sydney is undoubtedly starting to stretch the budget and force people off the road.”

Some other interesting highlights of the new research found:

  • Adelaide is the cheapest place to fill your car up in the country, while the pump price in Canberra will hit you the hardest.
  • The average cost of commercial car parking in Adelaide will set you back $9.80 for two hours, compared to Sydney where it will cost over four times more at $43.30 for the same amount of time.
  • Melbourne is the most car friendly city on the east coast, beating Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.
  • Sydney tolls and parking fines are by far the most expensive in the country and most regional towns in NSW perform poorly with a state-wide fine of $86 for parking infringements. A parking fine in Gawler will set you back $22, while in Albury, NSW, the same infringement will set you back $86 – almost four times the amount

Overall results:

Car Friendliest Capital Cities
  1. Adelaide
  2. Hobart
  3. Perth
  4. Darwin
  5. Melbourne
  6. Brisbane
  7. Canberra
  8. Sydney
Regional City
  1. Gawler, SA
  2. Mount Gambier, SA
  3. Port Augusta, SA
  4. Geelong, VIC
  5. Ballarat, VIC
  6. Bendigo, VIC
  7. Mildura, VIC
  8. Cairns, QLD
  9. Port Lincoln, SA
  10. Devonport, TAS
  11. Launceston, TAS
  12. Mackay, QLD
  13. Burnie, TAS
  14. Wodonga, VIC
  15. Albury, NSW
  16. Rockingham, WA
  17. Coffs Harbour, NSW
  18. Toowoomba, QLD
  19. Rockhampton, QLD
  20. Townsville, QLD
  21. Gosford, NSW
  22. Newcastle, NSW
  23. Bunbury, WA
  24. Alice Springs, NT
  25. Albany, WA
  26. Wagga Wagga, NSW
  27. Fremantle, WA
  28. Wollongong, NSW
  29. Geraldton, WA
  30. Mandurah, WA


Thirty-eight of the largest regional and capital cities were selected (based on population size) and analysed based on the criteria below. The results were then weighted and cities were ranked highest to lowest based on most to least friendly city in Australia.

Criteria considered for CAPITAL CITIES included:

  • Average petrol price
  • Average cost of comprehensive car insurance
  • Cost of vehicle registration
  • Expired parking fines
  • Car thefts per 1,000 vehicles
  • Cost of 2 hour metered parking
  • Cost of 2 hour commercial parking
  • Number of parking spaces available
  • Cost of toll roads per kilometre within a city

Criteria considered for REGIONAL CITIES included:

  • Average petrol price
  • Cost of comprehensive car insurance
  • Cost of vehicle registration
  • Expired parking fines
  • Cost of 2 hour metered parking
  • Cost of 2 hour commercial parking
  • Cost of toll roads per kilometre within a city

About Virgin Car Insurance
Virgin Car Insurance was launched in September 2009 with one aim: to shake up the car insurance industry.

For a full copy of the research, interview opportunities or for more information, please contact:

Nick Larkworthy
PR Manager
Virgin Money Australia