Vehicle fuel economy labels - further information

Information for buyers

How is the fuel economy star rating worked out?

The fuel economy star rating is based on the fuel economy data submitted by the vehicle manufacturer as part of vehicle certification. The manufacturer gets the data from international laboratories who do independent testing of the vehicle when new. Vehicles sold in New Zealand are tested to either the European (typically for new cars), Japanese (typically new and used cars) or Australian ADR test methods, using a rolling road cycle to derive a fuel economy figure expressed in litres per 100km. This figure does not take into account variables such as the influence of driving style, traffic conditions or other factors that may impact on fuel consumption. Therefore it provides a standardised way to compare one vehicle against another, but it is not a guarantee of the fuel economy an individual driver will achieve.

The test results are translated into a simple star rating out of six. There is one rating scale for all vehicles, with six stars for vehicles that are the most fuel efficient, and the least number of stars for the biggest gas guzzlers.

The average fuel price used in the fuel economy rating calculation is reviewed each year, although it will only be changed if there's been a big move in actual fuel prices. It is not practical to change the information on the label every time the fuel price goes up or down, so an annual average is used. The distance people travel also varies considerably, so an average of 14,000km (as used by the AA and Inland Revenue) has been used in the calculation.

Where does the L/100km on the fuel economy label come from?

NZ legislation requires the importer/distributor of the car/ute/van to provide fuel economy information from the emissions and fuel consumption rolling road drive cycle test report to the NZ Transport Agency, during the vehicle compliance certification process. This is entered into the Motor Vehicle Register database and into the fuelsaver database used to create fuel economy labels.

Can I expect to achieve the fuel consumption (L/100km) indicated on the fuel economy label?

Yes it is possible, however the rolling road drive cycle test simulates city and open road in a controlled test environment to allow a pure comparison between vehicles. Fuel consumption when driving in real on-road conditions is influenced by many factors other than the vehicle itself – such as driving style, traffic conditions, whether fuel efficient tyres are fitted and if the tyres have the correct tyre pressure. The fuel economy data on the label is not a guarantee of the fuel economy an individual driver will achieve.

How are vehicles tested for fuel consumption?

The rolling road drive cycle test is carried out with the vehicle on a dynamometer and controlled by a computer programme. This programme has two main sections; ‘urban’ which simulates city driving for about 13 minutes and then ‘extra urban’ which simulates open road/highway driving for about 7 minutes. The most common international test standard is UN ECE R101 (European NEDC drive cycle test). During these drive cycle tests the exhaust CO2 emissions are recorded to establish fuel consumption. The results of the urban and extra urban tests are calculated to a combined figure and it is the combined figure that is quoted as the fuel economy for that vehicle.

Does the fuel economy figure take into account vehicle modifications or wear and tear?

No allowances are made in the fuel economy database for individual vehicles that have undergone modifications, or for wear and tear. The information is based on fuel consumption when the vehicle was tested new in laboratory conditions on a rolling road cycle.

Does EECA have fuel information for all vehicles in New Zealand?

Fuel economy data is available for almost all cars manufactured after 2000 and some cars manufactured between 1992 -1999.

This makes up a large proportion of the vehicles being traded in New Zealand today and data is regularly updated.

Why isn't fuel economy information displayed for some vehicles?

If the fuel economy information isn’t available for a vehicle, it’s not compulsory for traders to display a label. Traders can choose to display a label that explains that the fuel economy information was not available for a vehicle, so you may see some labels without any actual fuel economy information on them, or only partial information.

Common reasons for fuel economy information to be missing for a particular vehicle include:

  • The car was manufactured before 2000.
  • The car was New Zealand-new between 2000 and 2004 (that is, it came into New Zealand prior to 2005 before we started collecting the information on new cars).
  • The car was a used import from Japan between 2000 and 2004 (information on used imports has been collected, but some may not be available).

How do I find out more about a car that doesn't have any fuel economy data displayed?

If the information or label is not displayed, ask the motor vehicle trader if they have information for the vehicle or another vehicle of the same specifications.

If the vehicle is being sold privately, and not through a trade website (you may be looking at a newspaper advert for example) then the seller doesn’t have to provide the fuel economy information. However, you can look up the vehicle yourself using our fuel economy label generator.

Fuel economy label generator

Who should I contact if I believe the fuel economy label on a vehicle is incorrect?

The fuel economy data is provided by the manufacturers and/or importers of vehicles. It is not a guarantee of the actual fuel economy that an individual driver will achieve. If you have other information that shows a different fuel economy figure for the same vehicle, please let us know by emailing fuel.economy@eeca.govt.nz or call 0800 358 676 and ask for the products compliance team.

Information for sellers

How do I get a label?

Use our vehicle fuel economy label generator to get vehicle information and produce fuel economy labels, which can be printed on ordinary A4 paper in either colour or black and white.

Fuel economy label generator

Motor vehicle traders may also be able to get labels (where available) in the following ways:

  • Produced and printed as part of the package provided by your dealer management system provider. If you use Motor web to print a Consumer Information Notice (CIN), then the label will be automatically produced at the same time.
  • Delivered along with the vehicle from the manufacturer/distributor.
  • Delivered with the vehicle when it is imported (if the importer prints the label along with the fuel consumption statement).

Do I have to display the fuel economy information?

If you’re a registered vehicle trader you’re required by law to display the fuel economy information on a label displayed on any car, ute or van weighing 3.5 tonnes or under - if the information is available. You also have to display the fuel economy information on trading websites you’re using to sell a vehicle - the information must be displayed as written text alongside the listing for that vehicle.

Failure to do so may incur a fine of up to $5,000. However, the EECA compliance team is unlikely to take action against anyone who has made a genuine effort to get a label.

If you can’t get the fuel information, then you don’t have to do anything else. However, if you choose to you can display a label without fuel information showing buyers and the EECA compliance team that you have made a genuine effort to get a label.

Private sellers are required to display the fuel economy information on trading websites they are using to sell the vehicle. Some websites such as TradeMe Motors and Auto Trader make this easy by automatically displaying fuel consumption information when you enter the license plate number of the vehicle you are selling. You can also choose to display the label with the vehicle, but this is not compulsory for private sellers.

If a vehicle has been imported from Australia or Japan, do I have to get a New Zealand label?

Australian imports: Vehicles produced in or imported directly from Australia can be sold in New Zealand with their Australian label, as long as they’re also labelled as being Australian imports. If the vehicle doesn’t have an Australian label, then a New Zealand label must be displayed, as long as the information is available.

Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) - Energy Safety website

Japanese imports: Yes, you need to display a New Zealand label for Japanese imports.

What about vehicles imported from countries other than Australia or Japan?

You should check to see whether fuel economy information is available for these vehicles. If the information is available, they will need a New Zealand label. This information is being updated all the time.

When don't I have to display the label or fuel economy information?

If fuel economy information is not available from the fuel economy label generator, then a label does not have to be displayed.

Fuel economy label generator

You aren’t required to display the label or fuel economy information:

  • On print advertisements promoting vehicles for sale, such as in magazines or newspapers.
  • For motorcycles or vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
  • If it’s not currently available.

How should I display the label for the vehicle?

You need to display the label so that it is:

  1. Clear and prominent, and obviously relates to the vehicle for sale.
  2. Easy to read from a reasonable distance.
  3. Either firmly attached to the vehicle and is clearly visible from the outside, or displayed on an information stand next to the vehicle.

Once the vehicle has been sold, the label can be removed. A sold sign will release you from legal obligations to display a label.

How should fuel economy information be displayed on trading websites?

The main trading websites, such as Trade Me and Auto Trader, have systems in place that may automatically display the fuel economy information with the vehicle listing by using data found from the vehicle number plate. Motor vehicle dealers also need to make sure that the fuel information is displayed on their dealer websites where vehicles are offered for sale.

It’s the responsibility of the seller (private seller or trader) to:

  1. Ensure the fuel economy information is shown clearly and prominently on the same webpage as the vehicle
  2. Ensure that the text can be easily read
  3. Ensure the information is placed so that it obviously relates to the vehicle for sale

You can get the relevant fuel economy information from this site, and include it as text in your listing.

Setting up a direct interface between your website and our database is also possible. This makes sense if you’re responsible for a large trading website and want the information to be provided automatically. Email fuel.economy@eeca.govt.nz if you would like more information.

Can I use the label and fuel economy information for other promotional purposes?

Yes, you can use the label or information for other promotional purposes such as print adverts, as long as it appears in a way that is approved by EECA. It must be displayed correctly and consistently with other display methods such as website listings.

What should I do if I think the fuel consumption information for a car is wrong?

The fuel consumption information is provided by the manufacturers and/or importers of vehicles. It is not a guarantee of the actual fuel economy that an individual driver will achieve. If you have other information that shows a different fuel consumption figure for the same vehicle, please let us know by emailing fuel.economy@eeca.govt.nz or call 0800 358 676 and ask for the products compliance team.

What if the database details for the car are wrong?

If there's clearly a mistake in the database, for example if you enter the plate number of a Toyota and get a label for a Holden, then please let us know by emailing fuel.economy@eeca.govt.nz or call 0800 358 676 and ask for the products compliance team.

What happens if the price of fuel at the pump changes - will the fuel economy information and labels have to be updated?

The fuel price on the labels is for comparison purposes only, and is used to calculate the cost per year. It is an average figure so that it doesn’t have to be updated every time the price at the pump changes. The average fuel price will be reviewed every 12 months. Any updates will be notified to all motor vehicle traders in advance, so that labels and information can be updated and replaced by a given date. The information will be updated in the database used for generating labels and online listings, so these will automatically reflect the new values from the given date.

What happens if the price of electricity changes - will the fuel economy information and labels for plug-in electric vehicles have to be updated?

The kWh/100km is for comparison only, and is used to calculate the approximate cost per year. The price of electricity on the fuel economy label is an average of the different private and commercial tariff rates across the different power companies, it will be monitored and updated when necessary. There is a label for pure electric vehicles that can be used voluntarily (it’s not compulsory to display).

Japanese identifying plates

How do I find the chassis number from the identifying plate on a Japanese import?

For most Japanese import vehicles, the plate is under the bonnet. In some cars, like the Nissan Maxima, it is under the driver's seat. In a van, it may be under the driver's or passenger's seat.

What are typical examples of plates with chassis numbers?

Some common types of identifying plates are shown below. If the plate you are looking at does not fit one of these types, see the question "What to do if I have difficulty getting a label?" below.

1. Plate references chassis number - this example is from a Mazda Atenza 2003 (2300cc, 5 speed manual). The chassis number is GG3S-110475.

mazda plate

2. Plate displays chassis number in English - this example is from a Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia 2001 (1800cc, automatic). It shows the chassis number: CS5W-0203118.

mitsubishi plate
This example is from a Nissan Wingroad 2001 (1500cc, automatic). The chassis number is WFY11-256572.nissan plate

3. Plate displays details in Japanese - this example is from a Honda Stream 2001 (1700cc, automatic). It shows a chassis number labelled in Japanese: RN1-1054362.

honda plate

What to do if I have difficulty getting a label?

If you've found a plate with a chassis number, but entering the chassis number in the chassis number section on the label generator screen does not give you a label, please double check that you have entered the information correctly.

If you have tried all these methods and none of them have worked, you can print and use the “Not Applicable” label to show that you have not been able to find fuel economy data for this vehicle. (The use of the Not Applicable label is optional.)

Legal information

How is fuel consumption information collected?

Fuel consumption information is provided by the manufacturers and/or importers of vehicles. This information must be legally provided to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) under Rule 33020. For more information on Rule 33020 please visit the NZTA website.

The fuel consumption information that is quoted on the international emissions and fuel consumption rolling road drive cycle test report during the vehicle homologation process is supplied to NZ Transport Agency. This is uploaded into the Motor Vehicle Register database and the fuelsaver database.

NZTA website

What happens if I don't comply with the Regulations?

The Energy Efficiency (Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling) Regulations 2007 came into effect on 7 April 2008. According to the regulations, you’re obliged to display the information or the label, using the information we’ve provided in the vehicle fuel economy label generator.

If you don't have a label with a vehicle for sale, or the fuel economy information with its website listing, then you may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 per vehicle.

It is illegal to interfere with or change the fuel economy information or label so that it no longer complies, or is inconsistent with the information provided through the EECA website. However, you will not be committing an offence if the information provided by the website is incorrect and you have not intended to mislead.

Energy Efficiency (Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling) Regulations 2007 - Parliamentary Counsel Office website

Who monitors whether the information and/or labels are displayed?

The EECA compliance team is responsible for monitoring the display of fuel economy information and enforcing the fuel economy labelling requirements.

Who is defined as a motor vehicle trader?

A motor vehicle trader is anyone who is identified as a Motor Vehicle Trader in accordance with section 7 & 8 of the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 and carrying out a business in motor vehicle trading. This includes:

  • Importers
  • Wholesalers
  • Car auctioneers
  • Car consultants

You will also be treated as a motor vehicle trader if you sell more than six vehicles in a 12 month period, or import more than three vehicles in 12 months unless you can prove you’re not doing so for financial gain.