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Minister Misleads Public over Fuel Consumption

25 February 2005

Minister Misleads Public over Fuel Consumption Data

The age of the vast majority of imported used cars will ensure that the most inefficient vehicles joining the New Zealand fleet will escape recording on Land Transport New Zealand’s new fuel consumption database.

The database, which was announced by Transport Minister Pete Hodgson today, will capture fuel consumption data for all new cars and ‘many’ used cars at the time of importation. The database will ultimately be available to the public in a form that will allow prospective buyers to compare the fuel efficiency of different vehicles.

Unfortunately ‘many’ used cars will actually be something less than 10%, because the information won’t be available for used imports of pre 2000 vintage. Over 90% of imported used cars are older than this, and thanks to loopholes which have encouraged the importation of fuel-guzzling older vans and 4WDs, the average age continues to get older. In January the average used import was 8.59 years old, (i.e. pre 1996 ) and the vast number of older used imports has forced the average age of the NZ vehicle fleet up to 11.78 years, despite record new vehicle sales.

“This is nonsense,” said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association. “On the one hand the Government is encouraging awareness of the fuel consumption between various vehicles, yet on the other hand we’re not allowed to know the levels of consumption of the worst performers. We encourage the availability of this information, but once again the new car sellers will be complying without complaint whilst the vast bulk of the used import industry will continue to foist old, worn out, inefficient and unsafe technology onto the market under a different set of rules.”


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