Electric vehicles to pay road user charges

The coalition Government is confirming that the exemption from road user charges (RUC) for owners of light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids will end from 1 April, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.

“Petrol tax and distance-based RUC are paid by road users to contribute to the costs of maintaining our roads, but EVs and plug-in hybrids have been exempted from RUC. Transitioning EVs and plug-in hybrids to RUC is the first step in delivering on the National-ACT coalition commitment to bring all vehicles into the RUC system.

“This transition to RUC is about fairness and equity. It will ensure that all road users are contributing the upkeep and maintenance of our roads, irrespective of the type of vehicle they choose to drive.

“Plug-in hybrids are powered by electricity and petrol and have had to pay petrol tax, but not to the same level as petrol equivalent vehicles. To ensure that plug-in hybrids avoid paying twice through both fuel excise duty and RUCs, these vehicles will pay a reduced rate RUC. 

“The previous National Government exempted EVs from paying RUC to encourage their uptake. This exemption was always intended to end when EVs hit around two per cent of the light vehicle fleet and we’re now at that point.

"With the increasing uptake of EVs and plug-in hybrids being brought into the RUC system, this means that these vehicles will now be contributing towards the maintenance and upkeep of our roading system like all other road users and will support the Government’s priority of building and maintaining our roading network.” 

Owners of light EVs and plug-in hybrids will need to buy a RUC licence from 1 April. There will be a two-month transition period to allow time for people to get registered in the RUC system without being penalised for unpaid RUC. 

From 11.59pm, Sunday 31 March 2024: 

  • Legislation will be passed before 1 April to enable the reduced RUC rate for plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • Owners of light EVs will pay $76 per 1000 kilometres, in line with equivalent diesel-powered vehicles.
  • Owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles will pay a reduced rate of $53 per 1000 kilometres so that they are not double taxed when paying Fuel Excise Duty. The partial rate of $53 per 1,000 kilometres assumes that on average, a plug-in hybrid will consume petrol at a rate of just under 3 litres per 100 kilometres. 
  • NZTA will be informing EV and plug-in hybrid owners about the transition to RUCs and what it will mean for them.
  • As part of this outreach, each EV and plug-in hybrid owner will receive a letter prior to 1 April that will explain the RUC process. The first time an EV owner buys their RUC licence they need to give their odometer reading. 
  • Whenever a warrant of fitness is undertaken, a vehicle’s odometer will be reviewed. If the odometer exceeds the RUCs purchased by the vehicle’s owner, they will be invoiced for any difference.