Electric vehicles subject to RUC from 1 April 2024


Following today’s Government announcement confirming that the exemption from road user charges (RUC) for owners of light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) will end from 1 April, NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) is providing further details on what the change means for vehicle owners.

Electric vehicles to pay road user charges - www.beehive.govt.nz(external link)

From 1 April, EV owners will need to buy a RUC licence and display it on their windscreen. They will be able to buy their RUC licence online through the NZTA website, or in person at an NZTA agent, from 1 April.

While EV owners won’t be able to buy their RUC licence before 1 April, they will have until 31 May to buy their licence without risk of penalty.

About RUC

Everyone who uses New Zealand roads contributes to their upkeep in some way.

Most pay through levies paid at the petrol pump (known as fuel excise duty) while others such as diesel vehicles pay distance-based road user charges.

Fuel excise duty and road user charges go towards the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) which pays for maintaining and improving New Zealand’s roads. 

EVs owners have been exempt from paying RUC since 2009. The exemption was put in place until EVs reached around 2 percent of New Zealand’s light vehicle fleet. This point has now been reached and there are around 100,000 light EVs on our roads, so the government has decided to let the exemption expire.

The end of the exemption means that EVs owners will contribute to the costs of the transport system in the same way as the owners other vehicles.

How much EV owners will need to pay

When someone buys RUC, they pay ahead of time of the distance they’re going to travel, in units of 1000km.

The RUC rate for light EVs will be $76 per 1000km and for PHEVs it will be $53 per 1000km (recognising that they also pay tax in the price of their petrol).

The first time an EV owner buys their RUC licence they’ll need to give their odometer reading at the time of purchase. If they give an inaccurate odometer reading, it may be picked up at the vehicle’s next WOF and the owner may be invoiced for any difference.

Next steps

NTZA is contacting EV owners this month to give them a heads-up about the change and letting them know they don’t need to do anything now. We’ll contact them again in March with more detail on what they need to do and how they buy their licence.

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