Getting RUC for My PHEV

So as we all know today is the start of RUC for EV and its kinds. I have a PHEV and as all PHEV users that charges pain me a little bit. Getting sucked twice is not something you want to experience outside your comfort zone. Anyway, any legal tips/tricks or deals that we can use to soften the blow?


  • How do they keep track of it to charge you? When you go for WOF?

    • +1

      Same deal as what diesel car owners have had for decades.

      It is the drivers responsibility to stay up to date with your RUC's. If you get caught with without up to date RUC's the driver can be penalized. Odometer gets logged every WOF, and the police check when they stop RUC vehicles (say for speeding).

  • +7

    Amusingly the government made an error, and accidentally passed legislation reducing the RUC rate from $38 / 1000km (was originally proposed to be $53/1000km). And have decided to let this error stand.

    While a PHEV even running 100% electric will still pay more road tax than a yaris hybrid (around $32 / 1000km), In general PHEV's, assuming they can do a decent chunk of electric running aren't hit as bad as pure EV's, which pay $76 / 100km.

    In terms of legal tip / tricks to soften the blow, it is fairly limited what can be done, but some idea's.

    • Wait until closer to the 31st May 2024 (the last date to buy your first RUC license before enforcement kicks in).
    • Use as little petrol as possible, minimizing the petrol tax paid. (I assume most PHEV owners plug in whenever they can anyway)
    • Evaluate if a PHEV is still right for your use case. People who have a PHEV but run 100% on petrol will do poorly under this RUC policy which assumes a decent chunk of electric running, while those who run mostly on electricity will do OK.
    • Change tire size (up to 5% diameter increase is allowed without a cert), so the odometer logs less distance.
    • Buy a lot of RUC's at once, in order to minimize the per transactions Admin fee ($12.44 online, $13.71 in person). Buying 1000km at a time would see the cost incl transaction fees reach $50.44 /1000km , where buying 30,000km at once would see the cost work out to 38.415/1000km.

    - No RUC hikes are planned until 2027, so little need to stock up in fear of price hikes coming soon. (Light vehicle RUC's don't expire even if there is a price hike, unlike heavy vehicle RUC's which expire one month later).
    - RUC refunds are only available if the car is permanently removed from the roads or exported, so if you buy heaps and want to sell your car, you need to price the value of the RUC's into the total vehicle price.

    • Hey Scott, would you happen to know what the fuel efficiency break-even points are for the ruc rates?

      • +3

        Ignoring the Admin fees,

        Petrol tax to the National land transport fund is 70.024c/L+GST.

        RUC for pure EV's & diesels is $7.6 / 100km.

        Road tax breakeven on the above is ~9.4L/100km. Means that the vast majority of new petrol car's will pay less in road tax than pure EV's (it's only really large or thirsty petrol cars that use more than 9.4L/100km these days, stuff like the v8 mustang, Ranger Raptor etc). And the most effichent petrol cars (yaris hybrid, aqua etc), will pay well less than half.

        If you wanted a more detailed analysis you should need to delve into differing ACC treatment, impact of Admin fees, regional fuel tax etc.

    • Change tire size will logs less distance?! TIL & thanks for comprehensive post! But that is looking for investment of at least $600+ for a new set :(

      • +1

        You would do it as old tyres need replacing I guess. But don't forget a tyre size change will also affect your speedometer. You will be travelling faster than what it states. Save a bit on RUC, cop a speeding ticket instead? :P Here is a calculator that tells you the speedo change when you input your tyre size change. There is probably one out there for odometer as well somewhere.…

        • +1

          It's correct that changing tyre diameter impacts the speedo reading, but in the case of my leaf, the impact of a 3.1% (calculated, not measured) increase in tire diameter was the speedo reading at 100km/h true changing from 107km/h indicated to 104km/h indicated.

          Note that the many modern car's deliberately have the speedo read high, unknowingly traveling slower makes the car seem better to a prospective buyer. Perceived to accelerate quicker (if you are accelerating say 0 - 95km/h instead of 0-100km/h), quieter interior, better fuel economy, more range etc. Odometer is set to record a fairly true distance, despite any speedo overread.

          • @scott: There's also a legal requirement to not under indicate the speed. The easiest way to do this is to target the vehicle to indicate 95kmh when doing 100kmh so you have 5% tolerance for variance in your calculations/assembly. The Germans (Mercedes, BMW, not sure about VW) often for something much closer like indicating 100 for 99 or 99.5kmh actual.
            This does bring up an interesting question of how accurate the odometer actually is

      • Odometer essentially counts the number of wheel rotations, so if one puts larger circumference tyres on a car with no other changes, then the car will be traveling further than it thinks it is.

        Of course typically larger circumference tyres also usually means a bit of an efficiency hit.

        In the case of my leaf it turned out that 215/55R17 tyres are 3.1% larger in diameter and circumference than the stock 17" tires 215/50R17, and were $100 cheaper around a set of four in the tyre model I wanted.

        This was a year ago, so well before we knew RUC rates, but I decided to go with the bigger tyres, but largely due to the $100 upfront saving, that they will likely last a little longer, and the extra 12mm clearance will reduce bumper strikes (we have a sunken drain right at the exit of our driveway).

        Especially on PHEV's, RUC's is likely a minor consideration. 14,000km a year @$38/1000 works out to $532/year + admin fees. Saving 3% of this is a $16/year saving so not really worth chasing.

        • 14,000km a year @$38/1000 works out to $532/year + admin fees. Saving 3% of this is a $16/year saving so not really worth chasing.

          Yep made that calculations when you brought it up. Even worse for our case as this PHEV is only for 2ndary car, so far it runs for only about 8k/y! And this is a considerably new car so we are not going to change the tires anytime soon.

    • Nice, thanks for that.

      PHEV Outlander user here, have had our car for 8 months, and only filled up petrol twice. Once when we went on a road trip, and the other time when the car 'forced' you to use the petrol because the petrol was at it's used by date sitting in the tank.

      Accidentally passing legislation at $38/1000km, will take all the small wins we can get!

      (Does this also mean $38/1000km is also locked in until 2027? hard to answer that one I guess)

      • +2

        For use cases like yours PHEV's will be paying well less road tax than a pure EV. It is only really the PHEV's that run mostly on petrol that get screwed (either because they don't get plugged in, or because the electric range is comically low).

        In terms of the $38/1000km being locked in untill RUC are revised alongside petrol taxed in 2027, Noting is ever locked in. Parliament is supreme and can change it any time they feel like.

        That said, given the current government wasn't willing to go back to the parliament and fix there error (would give the opposition another chance to debate the legislation), it seems unlikely we will see this changed in the near future.

        • -1

          Going back to change it would also be admitting they (profanity) up and that's definitely not something this government will want to do

  • lotta faulty odometers entering the leaf market…

  • Do we have to buy straight away or can we leave it to the last day to purchase RUC?

    • The way I read it we have until end of may to purchase. So if you left it till then you may be rolling without the RUC sticker until it arrives, but anyone checking should be able to see in their systems (ie WOF/Police) that they have been purchased.

      • That’s what I’m thinking, purchase on the last day, WOF isn’t due anytime soon and if the police does stop us their system will show I purchased them already

    • +1

      You are required to purchase then now, but there is no enforcement until June. Suspect most will wait another few weeks.

      Also note if you purchase online on 31 May, it will take a couple of weeks for the label to turn up. It is an offense to drive the car without a current RUC label (regardless if you have paid or not). However I have been pulled over before in a rental van where the RUC's had been paid, but the label posted to a north island rental office (van was in south island), and the cop wasn't concerned about my RUC label not being up to date (even though we were outside of phone coverage and they could not check the electronic system, they simply noted the ODO to check later).

  • So what I'm hearing is that closer to the 31st May 2024 (the last date to buy your first RUC license before enforcement kicks in) I submit that my PHEV has 45,000 kms (but it's really done about 44,000) 😜 so come next WOF they say I've only done 45001 or something like that.

    • +1

      I suspect that, if you got stopped for something else the next day, you would be in breach, since your odometer would show you on, say, 44100km, but you have not purchased RUCs to cover that (you have only purchased RUCs to cover, say, 45000km to 45999 km).

      I could be wrong though :-)

    • +1

      Be aware RUC labels come with a Minimum and Maximum ODO value printed on them. If you get stopped before your WOF (Police will check ODO of every RUC vehicle they pull over for speeding etc.), and your ODO is less than the minimum value, it will be clear something is up.

      RUC penalties are steep (A lot of the rules are set up to discourage cheating in the trucking industry where RUC's can be 10x higher than you will pay on your PHEV).

      Road User Charges Act 2012 (15):

      A person commits an offence in respect of an application made under subsection (1), if the person provides information that the person knows, or ought to have known, is incorrect in a material particular.
      A person who commits an offence against subsection (2) is liable on conviction,—
      in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding $15,000:
      in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $75,000.

      Suspect for most people it is not worth risking a conviction and a $15,000 fine, to save $38 (+transaction fees).

      • oof not worth it then, thanks for the info.

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