Electric cars to pay to use roads

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New Zealand’s Parliament has just passed a law that will change how electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid cars are treated when it comes to road use.

Starting this Monday, people who drive these types of cars will have to pay road user charges (RUCs), just like drivers of diesel vehicles do.

For a long time, EVs and plug-in hybrids didn’t have to pay these charges, which help pay for road maintenance and other transport projects. But now, EV owners will need to pay $76 for every 1000 kilometers they drive, the same rate as diesel cars. Plug-in hybrid drivers will pay a bit less, $38 per 1000 kilometers, which is actually a bit lower than what was first suggested, thanks to a last-minute change made by lawmakers.

There’s also a small admin fee for buying these RUC licenses, which is a bit cheaper if you get it online.

This move is part of a bigger plan to make sure all drivers contribute to the costs of keeping roads in good shape, regardless of what kind of fuel their car uses. It’s a bit of a shift from previous policies that encouraged people to choose electric or hybrid cars to help reduce pollution and fight climate change.

Some people, like Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter, are worried that making EVs and hybrids more expensive to drive might lead to more pollution, as it could make people think twice about switching to a cleaner car. Others feel that the new charges are unfair and could slow down the switch to electric cars.

Despite these concerns, the idea has been discussed for a while, and both the current government and the previous one have shown support for the change. The aim is to create a fair system where everyone who uses the roads helps pay for their upkeep.