How much does it cost to register a car in Victoria?

Personal Finance Writer · 10 September 2021
Victoria is home to Aussie rules football, historic Ned Kelly sites and one of the most impressive scenic coastal routes in the world – The Great Ocean Road. If you live in Victoria and want to drive your car on public roads, including this famous stretch, you will need to register your car.

A car is a true freedom machine – but that freedom comes at a price. In addition to the upfront buying costs, cars come with plenty of ongoing expenses, and registration is one of them. We look at how much it costs to register a car in Victoria.

This article covers:

How much does it cost to register a car in Victoria?

The cost of registration depends on the type of vehicle – and where you live. If you have a sedan, station wagon, hatch or 4WD you can pay anywhere from $726 to $845.90 each year depending on your suburb. As the table below shows, rural areas come with cheaper registration costs. At the other end of the scale, the Melbourne metropolitan area is classified as a high-risk zone, and so the cost of registration is higher.  

Car registration cost – light vehicles

Vehicle location Total registration fee
Metropolitan area (high risk zone) $845.90
Outer metropolitan (medium risk zone) $790.90
Rural (low risk zone) $726.00

Source: VicRoads

If you own a goods carrying vehicle up to 2 tonnes, such as a utility or dual cab ute, the cost of car rego varies from $589.60 annually in a low-risk, rural zone, through to $847 each year if you’re based in a high-risk zone.

Car registration costs – vehicles up to 2 tonnes

Vehicle location Total registration fee
Metropolitan (high risk zone) $847.00
Outer Metropolitan (medium risk zone) $716.10
Rural (low risk zone) $589.60

Source: VicRoads

How car registration costs are calculated

Vehicle registration is managed by VicRoads, and in Victoria, the cost of car registration is bundled with compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. So, you pay one amount that covers both car rego and CTP.

That’s a bit different from other states like New South Wales, where motorists can choose their CTP insurer, and then pay the premium separately before being able to renew their car’s registration.

How do I know when registration is due for renewal?

VicRoads will send out a registration notice in the mail six weeks before your registration expires, detailing how much it will cost and how you can pay. Motorists can  also sign up for a MyVicRoads account and receive reminders when rego is due via SMS. You must renew your registration on or before the due date so your vehicle can legally be driven.

Compulsory third party insurance in Victoria

As we noted, compulsory third party insurance (CTP) insurance works a bit differently in Victoria compared with other states. In particular, it is automatically included in the cost of car rego, and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is the sole CTP insurance provider in the state, paying for compensation for death or injuries resulting from a transport accident.

It’s worth knowing how CTP is calculated by the TAC, as it can help you understand your car rego costs in Victoria – and how CTP can impact your annual car budget if you’re looking to buy a vehicle.

The cost of CTP will depend on your car’s body type, intended use, and seating/carrying capacity as well as the postcode where the car is registered – these are divided into the same low, medium and high – zones used for car registration costs.

The TAC classifies vehicles in Victoria under the following categories:

  • Passenger vehicles (sedan, station wagon, hatch, 4WD, SUV, ute, van, RV, bus)
  • Goods carrying vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Miscellaneous motor vehicles (e.g. mobile crane, tractor, road making vehicle)
  • Special purpose motor vehicles (e.g. fire trucks, police vehicles, tow trucks)

Generally, vehicles with a larger seating or carrying capacity, or those designed for carrying goods, will pay a higher TAC charge, therefore costing more to register.

Remember, CTP is only designed to offer financial support if someone is killed or injured in a car accident regardless of who is at fault. It does not cover the cost of repairing damage caused to your car.

That’s why most drivers choose to take out separate car insurance. Depending on your level of cover, this can protect you against financial loss if your car is involved in an accident, is stolen, or is damaged as a result of wild weather. In fact, if you’ve borrowed  to pay for your car, your lender may make it a condition of the loan that you have comprehensive cover in place. Compare car insurance with Canstar.

Ways to save on car registration costs

Car registration can take a considerable bite out of your household budget. However, there may be ways to ease the financial pressure.

Check if you’re eligible for a discount

Several concessions are available on car rego in Victoria. In particular, you may be entitled to a Centrelink concession or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) concessions. If that sounds like you, the concessions can be worth a look as you could save up to 100% of the car rego cost plus big pocket savings on the TAC premium.

Short-term car rego in Victoria

Motorists in Victoria can take advantage of short-term registration, which allows vehicle owners to pay rego over three or six-month periods. It won’t result in direct savings, as the price of the short-term registration is a pro-rata of the annual fee. But by paying less upfront and spreading the cost of renewing registration across the year, short-term registration can be easier to manage than a single, larger upfront amount.

It’s a popular option among Victorian drivers. Figures from VicRoads show around one in three light vehicles are registered using either the three-month or six-month registration options. A small fee of $2.50 applies each time you choose to pay short-term registration, and you can change back to 12-month registration at any time.

Transferring interstate cars to registration in Victoria

If you’re moving to Victoria permanently, you’ll need to change your car’s rego from your former home state, to Victorian registration.

Some vehicles will require a roadworthy certificate to be registered in Victoria. This  can apply if you’ve purchased a car from an interstate seller, the rego is cancelled or expired more than three months, or if the car is being registered in a new name.

A roadworthy certificate isn’t normally required if the vehicle is currently registered in your name interstate, and it will still be registered in your name in Victoria.

Other potential costs for Victorian drivers

Here are some of the other costs that drivers in Victoria may incur:

Car transfer duty in Victoria

If you’re buying a car in Victoria, along with the regular car registration fee, you’ll be expected to pay a transfer fee plus motor vehicle duty.  This applies if you register a new car or you’ve purchased a used car that you want transferred into your name.

A flat transfer fee of $41.30 applies to most passenger vehicles in Victoria. Transfer duty is on top of this, and the final cost varies depending on the type of car, and it’s market value.

As a guide, expect to pay:

  • Low emission (120gm/km) passenger vehicle – $8.40 per $200 of the market value or part thereof
  • Passenger vehicles up to $69,152 – $8.40 per $200 of the market value or part thereof
  • Luxury passenger vehicles over $69,153 up to $100,000 – $10.40 per $200 of the market value or part thereof
  • Upper luxury passenger vehicles over $101,000 up to $150,000 – $14.00 per $200 of the market value or part thereof
  • Super luxury passenger vehicles above $150,001 – $18.00 per $200 of the market value or part thereof.

You don’t have to crunch the numbers – VicRoads will let you know how much you owe in transfer duty when you register the car in your name. For an idea of what you could be up for, check out the Motor Vehicle Duty Calculator on the State Revenue Office of Victoria website.

Be sure to transfer the car’s registration into your name within 14 days of  the sale or transfer.

Number plate fees

If you opt for standard car number plates in Victoria, you’ll normally pay a one-off fee when the plates are first issued. This usually applies to new cars, and the cost is either $38.40 for standard size plates or $150 if you choose slimline plates. If your car’s rego plates are damaged or lost, a replacement charge applies.

If you want to personalise your car’s registration number with custom rego plates, expect to pay more. New custom plates can cost upwards of about $495.

ZLEV road user charge

‘ZLEV’s are zero or low-emission vehicles that require electrical plug-in to recharge. This includes cars that use electric, hydrogen or plug-in electric-hybrid propulsion systems. Conventional hybrid vehicles – those that aren’t recharged by electrical plug-in – are not classified as ZLEVs.

If you have a ZLEV, you may be entitled to a $100 concession on the annual registration fee. However, from 1 July 2021 these vehicles are subject to the ZLEV road-user charge.  The cost is based on the number of kilometres travelled each year, with a proposed charge of 2.5 cents per kilometre for electric, other zero emission vehicles and hydrogen vehicles, and 2 cents per kilometre for plug-in hybrid electrical cars. Conventional hybrid cars don’t pay the ZLEV road-user charge, but they don’t score a discount on registration either.

Cover image source: Taras Vyshnya (Shutterstock). Sub edited by Milan Cuk. Article originally written by Elise Donaldson.

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