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Owners of electric vehicles to pay road user charges

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From 1 April 2024, owners of light electric vehicles will need to buy a road user charges (RUC) licence and display it on their windscreen.

Most road users pay fuel tax when they buy petrol, through fuel excise duty and this is used to maintain New Zealand's roads. Other road users, such as drivers of diesel vehicles pay through road user charges. Electric vehicle owners have been exempt from road user charges since 2009. The exemption was put in place until electric vehicles reached around 2 percent of New Zealand’s light vehicle fleet and this point has now been reached so the government has decided to let the exemption expire. The end of the exemption means that electric vehicles will now contribute to the costs of the transport system in the same way as other vehicles. From 1 April 2024, owners of vehicles that are powered fully or partly from externally supplied electricity, and weighs 1001kg–3500kg will need to pay road user charges. This includes plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) but does not include hybrid vehicles that can’t plug in to recharge; or ‘very’ light vehicles (1000kg or less) such as motorcycles and mopeds. 

A Bill to give effect to the above was introduced in Parliament on 29 February 2024. See the Road User Charges (Light Electric RUC Vehicles) Amendment Bill 2024  now in Westlaw New Zealand.

By Christine Sanders
Senior Legal Editor

Christine is a Senior Legal Editor in the Legal Analytical team in New Zealand. She has two Bachelors degrees - Social Sciences and Law, two Masters degrees - Management Studies and Labour Relations and Social Work, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling. She has worked at Thomson Reuters for 12 years and before that she worked as a Probation Officer for 10 years.

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