Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Fuel economy information now available to buyers

7 April 2008 Media Statement

Fuel economy information now available to buyers

From today car buyers will find it easier to choose a vehicle that goes further on a full tank, as fuel economy star rating labels go on show on all new and most late model used cars.

David Parker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change Issues says as the price of fuel keeps climbing, more New Zealand families want to know how they can make savings.

The label shows a star rating – similar to that seen on fridges and other appliances – and also gives an indication of the fuel cost per year, based on an average fuel price and distance.

“The label is based on information provided by the manufacturers and importers about the results of independent, laboratory based fuel consumption testing of the vehicle when new.

“This is designed to help people compare cars when they’re considering their next vehicle. For example, across “medium” cars (engine size 1.4 – 2.2 litres) there’s a range from five and a half stars to three and a half stars. Over a year, the three and a half star car will cost you twice as much in fuel as the best-rated car.”

The labels will be seen on cars where the fuel economy information is available; generally new cars and late model used Japanese cars. The fuel economy rating will also be shown on website listings, where it’s available.

Background information

What does the label look like?

What information will be on the fuel economy label?

The label will show:

 Fuel economy stars – rated out of 6, this indicates how fuel efficient the vehicle is.
 Litres per 100km –fuel consumption figure expressed in litres per 100km for new vehicles only based on independent testing of the vehicle.
 Cost per year – estimated annual fuel economy cost based on the average fuel price and an annual distance of 14,000km. This is calculated to help you compare one vehicle with another; it does not tell you what you will actually pay because it’s based on averages, not your actual vehicle use.
 Vehicle Make and Model

Which cars will have labels?
Fuel economy information has been collected since 2005 for new cars, and used Japanese imports manufactured since 2000. This means new and late model used cars will generally have labels, although cars that were New Zealand-new between 2000 and 2004 may not have labels, as they were imported before 2005 when the collection of information began. Over time, the number of older cars being traded will decrease.

Where does the fuel economy information come from?
Importers and manufacturers are required to supply fuel consumption information to Land Transport New Zealand, based on independent testing. This information is held in the database that sits behind, and the fuel economy labels.

How do motor vehicle traders get labels?
Labels can be generated via the fuelsaver website, produced as part of the service provided by MotorWeb, or may be provided with the car by the importer or manufacturer.

Do private sellers have to do anything?
Private individuals selling cars do not have to display a fuel economy label on the car, but they do have to ensure the information is included in a website listing, where it is available. The major trading websites, such as TradeMe and AutoTrader, have set up systems to include the information in listings automatically.

Where can I find fuel economy information about my car?

What happens if the information’s not available?
Fuel economy information may not be available for a number of reasons including the age of the vehicle or where it’s imported from. If the information is not available, the seller is not obliged to display it. Buyers may still be able to find information about cars of the same or a similar make and model on

Are there schemes like this overseas?
Vehicle Fuel economy labeling schemes have been introduced in many countries overseas and are currently in place in Australia, the European Union, California and Canada. However, New Zealand is the only country to cover both new and used vehicles.

What’s a “good” fuel economy rating?
It depends on what size car the buyer needs; smaller cars generally use less fuel but may not always meet the buyer’s requirements. Within each vehicle size there is a wide range of fuel use.

The best rating cars currently on the market are hybrid cars and small new diesel cars, which rate at five and a half stars. The best large cars rate four and a half stars.

How is the cost per year worked out?
The cost per year is calculated using the average fuel price stated on the label and an average distance of 14,000 km, and the litres per 100 kilometres for the car, based on testing when the car was new. It does not take into account your driving habits.

Because it uses average figures, it will not tell you exactly what the car will cost you to run. It’s a guide, not a guarantee. It is a useful tool for comparing cars, because the same averages are used for each car.

It is not practical to change the information on the label every time the fuel price goes up or down. So an annual average has been used as a basis for comparison.

The distance people travel also varies considerably, so an average of 14,000km (used by the AA and Department of Inland Revenue), has been used in the calculation as a reasonable basis for comparison.

Does the way I drive make a difference?

Yes, your driving style and habits can easily add up to 20 percent to your fuel consumption. You can save fuel by driving smoothly, not speeding, reducing your vehicle load (for example removing the roof rack), keeping your tyres at the right pressure and your car tuned, and not using the air conditioning. For more information visit


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need.

Spot the difference with New Zealand, where DHBs are under intense pressure to reduce deficits within a climate of chronic underfunding. More>>


Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election