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Owners of light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids in New Zealand will no longer be exempted from road user charges (RUC) beginning April 1, 2024.

“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,” Minister Brown explained in a press release.

“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 added.

The Transition Process

To ease the transition, legislation will be passed before April 1 to establish the reduced RUC rate for plug-in hybrid vehicles. Light EV owners will be required to pay $76 per 1000 kilometres ($0.076/km), aligning with the rate paid by equivalent diesel-powered vehicles.

Owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles will pay a reduced rate of $53 per 1000 kilometers, assuming an average petrol consumption rate of just under 3 liters per 100 kilometers. This is to avoid double taxation through both fuel excise duty and RUCs.

Furthermore, starting from 11:59 pm on March 31, 2024, owners of light EVs and plug-in hybrids will be required to purchase a RUC license. A two-month transition period will be in place to allow time for vehicle owners to register in the RUC system without facing penalties for unpaid RUC.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will be reaching out to EV and plug-in hybrid owners to provide information about the shift to RUCs and its implications.

Each owner will receive a letter before April 1, explaining the RUC process. The first time an EV owner purchases their RUC license, they will need to provide their odometer reading.

Additionally, during warrant of fitness checks, a vehicle’s odometer will be reviewed. If the odometer exceeds the purchased RUCs, the owner will be invoiced for any difference.

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