Categories: News and Resources

Katie Ferro


While discussions about 18 year olds and driving usually focuses on safety and speed, new research reveals that parents are increasingly paying for the majority of costs associated with keeping their ‘adult’ child in a car and on the road.

CRNRSTONE, formerly Stable Research recently interviewed over 300 people from across Australia to determine current trends about driving and car ownership for 18 year olds and the role that their parents play in the equation. The majority of parents who provided responses to this survey had 2-3 children.

In broad terms, 20% of parents said that they would provide a car for each child when they reached driving age, 9% said they would provide a car that their children could share, 8% wouldn’t provide a car until their 18-year-old could afford one on their own.

Nearly 20% of parents said they had provided a car for each child when they turned 18.  In 76% of cases the car supplied by parents was a used car while 24% of parents said they provided their 18-year-old with a new car.

30% of parents said they would help their children save for their own car as well as providing a ‘donation’ toward the cost of purchasing the car. While 55.6% said they would provide a ‘donation’ of between $1,000 and $5,000, nearly 4% said they would donate $10,000+.

In breaking down the results further we can see parents continue to make a significant contribution to keeping their 18-year-olds on the road.

14% of parents said that they would let their 18-year-old use their car and would also pay for petrol, while 16% said they would let their 18-year-old use their car but make them pay for petrol. It also appears that the use of the car came with the parent also covering the majority of car’s running costs. Parent indicated:

When it came to cleaning the owned or shared car we can see that 44% of 18-year-olds do the majority of the cleaning, 16.5% parents clean the car and 29.7% clean it together. In 10% of cases the car doesn’t get cleaned at all!

In the majority of cases, the decision about the make and model of the car purchased or provided to the 18-year-old was a joint decision at 50%, or the parents’ decision at 47%. Only 3% of 18-year-olds indicated that the type of car provided was their decision alone.

Safety was a key feature, with 85% of parents indicating that the car provided had an airbag and other safety features.

When asked about whether they cared about the make and model of their parent’s car over a quarter of 18-year-olds said it made a difference but 73.2% said it didn’t matter. When it came to safety features, 75.6% said that it did matter that the car had good safety features and 24.4% said that safety features weren’t an issue.

As many parents will attest, the cost of providing their 18-year-old with their own wheels comes at a cost. But that’s often weighed up against the convenience of knowing that they are off the ‘pick up drop off’ hook.