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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 www.fuelsaver.govt.nz, www.rightcar.govt.nz 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?

www.fuelsaver.govt.nz

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 www.fuelsaver.govt.nz.

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 www.fuelsaver.govt.nz.

ENDS

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