Driverless cars will cost Australia's state governments billions in annual revenue

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

The widespread take-up of driverless and electric vehicles would mean great savings for consumers but significant revenue losses for state governments in Australia, as people switch from owning to sharing vehicles.

Modelling by KPMG for the Infrastructure Victoria report on driverless cars shows the shift to automated and zero emissions vehicles will have implications for governments and consumers.

Driverless and electric vehicle adoption scenarios assessed in the report shows significant net reduction in Victorian Government revenues, ranging from between $5 billion in 2030-31 to $13 billion in 2045-46.

The revenue loss would be proportional in other states and territories.

An analysis of vehicle ownership costs shows automated electric vehicles will be the lowest cost fuel source option for the average Victorian who uses their vehicle to drive 15,000km a year.

And using a fleet-style automated vehicle service would be about 40% cheaper than owning a vehicle, even after allowing for a higher technology cost of around $7000 to $13,000 per vehicle.

KPMG’s projections suggests that even the upper cost estimate for using robo taxis ($0.26 per vehicle kilometre travelled) is lower than the lower estimate ($0.35 per vehicle kilometre travelled) for a privately owned vehicle.

One of the largest impacts is the ability for connected automated vehicles to platoon, following each other with very short distances between them, increasing the effective capacity of roads.

The Infrastructure Victoria report says automated and zero emissions vehicles could be the biggest thing to happen to transport since the car itself.

“Automated and zero emissions vehicles represent a potential opportunity for all Victorians to enjoy a better quality of life through improved road safety, cleaner air, better health, less traffic congestion and a stronger economy,” says the report.

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