EVs to pay road user charges, heavy vehicles exempt until 2025

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 18, 2024

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

Heavy EVs with a gross laden weight of more than 3500kg remain exempt from RUC until December 31, 2025.

Brown said transitioning EVs and plug-in hybrids to RUC is the first step in delivering on the coalition government’s 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 to the upkeep and maintenance of our roads, irrespective of the type of vehicle they choose to drive,” he said.

The previous National Government exempted EVs from paying RUC to encourage their uptake. Brown said this exemption was always intended to end when EVs hit around two per cent of the light vehicle fleet.

“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,” he said.

Plug-in hybrids powered by electricity and petrol 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.

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.