FIGURES RELEASED BY the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the growth of Australia?s national automotive fleet has slowed in 2009.
The passenger car market has grown by 1.9 percent over the March 2008 Census, down slightly on the average 2.5 percent annual growth recorded in the previous five years.
Census data collected in March reveals that the national passenger car fleet now stands at 12 million vehicles, or 720 cars per 1000 people.
Overall vehicle ownership figures, including passenger cars, buses, campervans, light commercial vehicles, trucks and motorcycles bring the tally up to 15.7 million vehicles - up from 15.3 million in 2008 and 13.5 million in 2004.
Motorcycles have grown in popularity, recording a 10 percent growth in registrations over the last twelve months, for a total of 396,309. As such, the five year growth average for the motorcycle market stands at 9.5 percent.
Western Australia has the highest per capita rate of registered vehicles, with 822 vehicles per 1000 residents. The Northern Territory has the lowest average with 577 vehicles per 1000 residents.
New South Wales is home to the largest share of registered vehicles, at 29.1 percent, but ranks third on per-capita ownership with 645 vehicles to everyone 1000 people.
Victoria comes in second for overall ownership, claiming 25.6 percent of the vehicles in Australia. Again, NT pulls last place with just 0.8 percent of the nation?s registered vehicles residing there.
Petrol provides the majority of the nation?s driving force with 84 percent of Australia?s vehicles running on the fuel. Diesel cars make up 12.8 percent of registered vehicles.
Broken down, 42.8 percent of the diesel market is occupied by Light Commercial Vehicles, but diesel passenger cars are growing in popularity representing 13.1 percent of the diesel collective. That represents a growth rate of 80 percent since 2004.
In line with last year?s figures, the age of the average vehicle stands at 9.9 years old - in 2004, the average age was 10.3 years.
Motorcycles are the newest vehicles on average at 8.7 years, and motorhomes the oldest with an average age of 18.1 years.
The ABS estimates that 640,308 cars were scrapped in the 12 months to March 2009. For the preceding 12 months that figure was estimated to be 597,176 vehicles.