What the RUC?

The New Zealand Government recently announced they'd start charging EVs and Plug-in-Hybrids (PHEVs) Road User Charges.

Many people who drive EVs have never paid this tax before, so we wanted to help!

Enter your car licence plate to see how much you'll pay in RUCs per year.
We look up your licence plate with the NZTA – we never store it.
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RUC per year
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Update: 24th of March 2024

The government announced that rates for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) would be reduced from $53 to $38 per 1000km

We've now updated What the RUC to take this into account. You can read more about the announcement here.

From April 1, 2024, owners of light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) in New Zealand will begin paying road user charges (RUC). This marks a significant shift from the previous exemption that EV owners enjoyed since 2009. The exemption was initially in place to encourage the uptake of EVs until they reached approximately 2 percent of the country's light vehicle fleet. As of 2024, this milestone has been achieved with around 100,000 light EVs on New Zealand roads, prompting the government to end the exemption​​​​​​.

RUC Rates and Details

  • Rates: The RUC rate for light EVs is set at $76 per 1000km, while for PHEVs, it's $38 per 1000km. The lower rate for PHEVs takes into account that their owners also pay some fuel excise duty when buying petrol.
  • Purchase and Display: Owners of these vehicles will need to buy a RUC license and display it on their windscreen. Licenses can be purchased online through the NZTA website or in person at an NZTA agent from April 1.
  • Grace Period: Although the RUC licenses can't be bought before April 1, EV owners will have until May 31 to purchase their license without facing penalties.
  • Contribution to Transport System: The revenue from these charges contributes to the National Land Transport Fund, which is used for maintaining and improving New Zealand’s road network​​​​.

The Challenge: Confusion and Uncertainty

One thing became abundantly clear: many EV and PHEV owners were stepping into unfamiliar territory. Road User Charges were a new concept for many who had embraced electric vehicles not just for their environmental benefits but also for their cost-effectiveness. The introduction of RUC meant recalculating the economics of owning an EV or PHEV, a task that proved to be daunting for many.

Our Response: Creating WhatTheRUC.com

This is where the idea for WhatTheRUC.com was born. As creators of the Roadtrip app, (which has also now been updated to reflect the new RUC prices for EV owners) we've always been passionate about making vehicle ownership as straightforward and transparent as possible. WhatTheRUC.com was conceived as a bridge over the murky waters of RUC calculations for EVs and PHEVs.

The site is simple: enter your car's details and your average annual driving distance, and it calculates your yearly RUC. We made sure that the process respects user privacy – a core value in all our projects. There's no storage of personal information, just a straightforward calculation to help you understand what this policy change means for your wallet.

Why We Built WhatTheRUC.com

Our motivation was two-fold. Firstly, we wanted to provide clarity and ease the uncertainty surrounding the new RUC charges. We knew the tech we built for Roadtrip was applicable here and could make a difference in easing some confusion – and we shamelessly figured, if you like this, you might love our app Roadtrip!

Frequently asked questions

Since launching the site we'd had a lot of questions from EV owners who aren't sure how Road User Charges work:

How much are road user charges per km?

For Diesel or Electric vehicles in New Zealand, the road user charge is $76 per 1000km. For plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), it's $38 per 1000km, starting April 1, 2024​​​​​​. If you drive a regular hybrid, you won't pay any RUCs.

How do I check my RUC?

You can check your RUC in New Zealand online through the NZTA website or in person at an NZTA agent. Additionally, websites like whattheruc.com allow you to estimate RUC costs based on your vehicle type​​​​.

Can I prepay my RUC?

Yes, RUC can be prepaid in New Zealand, allowing vehicle owners to purchase RUC licenses for future use.

Are there any exemptions or discounts for RUC?

Exemptions or discounts may apply under specific conditions, but generally, all eligible vehicles must pay RUC.

How is the RUC rate for electric vehicles calculated?

The RUC rate for EVs considers factors like vehicle type and environmental impact, set by the NZ government.

What is the process for purchasing a RUC license?

A RUC license can be purchased online through the NZTA website or at an NZTA agent.

How does RUC contribute to road maintenance?

RUC funds contribute to the National Land Transport Fund, which finances road maintenance and improvements.

What are the penalties for inaccurate odometer readings?

Providing false odometer readings can lead to additional charges and legal consequences.

What happens if I don't pay road user charges?

Not paying road user charges in New Zealand can result in penalties, including fines. It's mandatory to have a current RUC license displayed on your vehicle's windscreen​​​​.

Can I get a refund on my RUC if I sell my vehicle?

RUC refunds are possible in certain circumstances, such as selling the vehicle before the RUC license expires.

How often do I need to renew my RUC license?

RUC licenses are renewed based on distance traveled, typically every 1000km or as needed.

Does RUC apply to rental or leased vehicles?

Yes, RUC applies to all eligible vehicles, including rental and leased ones.

Are there any changes planned for RUC rates or policies?

Any changes to RUC rates or policies are announced by the NZ government or NZTA.