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'Whole-of-life' and operating costs

'Whole-of-life' costs

Estimating and comparing ‘whole-of-life’ costs for vehicles enables fleet managers to gain a more accurate picture of vehicle costs over time and therefore to make more strategic purchasing decisions.

'Whole-of-life' cost calculations include the following elements:

  • purchase price (dealer delivery charge, compulsory third party insurance, registration, motor vehicle duty, number plate fees, optional extras and adjustment for trade-in vehicle)
  • depreciation (purchase price minus residual value)
  • recurring fixed costs (registration, insurance, roadside assistance and finance costs)
  • operating costs (fuel, tyres and maintenance).

Residual value is the amount a vehicle is sold for and depreciation is the difference between the vehicle's original value and its sale price.

Access to current vehicle residual estimates is available for purchase from:

Sample 'whole-of-life' cost calculations

The following calculator from the NRMA provides a demonstration of how ‘whole-of-life’ costs are calculated. The full version of the calculator is available for purchase.

'Whole-of-life' cost tool

This tool can be used by community service organisations to calculate the 'whole-of-life' cost of vehicles owned by their organisation:

Operating costs

Vehicle private usage operating costs for a range of vehicles are available from:


Supported by the Community Sector Investment Fund (external link - opens in a new window).