Consider fuel types

Before you buy your next car, consider switching to a more efficient fuel type, like electric or hybrid.

Electricity is the greenest fuel around

Smell that fresh, clean air? Battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) are the greenest option, with no tailpipe emissions and zero contribution to air pollution. It’s easy to fill up with Kiwi-made electricity at home or while on the road. Keep running costs super-low by charging at home, off-peak, when electricity is cheapest and cleanest.

A hybrid is a great lower-carbon option

Hybrid cars are more fuel efficient than a comparable petrol car, and produce fewer carbon emissions. They use petrol or diesel to power a combustion engine, which works in combination with a battery or on-board electric motor. The battery is charged by the combustion engine, and energy is captured when the vehicle brakes or decelerates (a system called regenerative braking).

Petrol and diesel release harmful gases

Being Gen Less means choosing the model with the highest fuel economy rating that suits your needs and budget. Lots of other things will help you keep your emissions as low as possible too — like driving efficiently, keeping your tyres inflated, maintaining your vehicle and choosing different ways to get around.

Two-thirds of New Zealand-new vehicles are SUVs or utes, which consume much more fuel than a regular car.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

Choose a fuel efficient option

Squeeze value out of every kilometre — you'll have more to spend at your destination if you save on the cost of getting there.

Check the Vehicle Emissions and Energy Economy ratings

Better energy efficiency means that for each kilometre travelled, you burn less fuel and release fewer carbon emissions. The most energy efficient cars have six stars.

Three fuel efficiency factors

  1. 1

    Small is beautiful

    Buy the smallest car that suits your needs — that goes for engine size and its actual dimensions. Just being lighter means it needs less fuel to get moving. It'll likely cost less to insure as well — use the savings to hire a bigger vehicle if you need it now and then.

  2. 2


    Every year, manufacturers get better at optimising fuel efficiency in the vehicles they make (responding to demand from people like you). They improve engine efficiency and tweak the aerodynamics — and keep making them safer too. So in general, older vehicles cost more to run and produce more emissions than newer models.

  3. 3

    Maintenace history

    The less a previous owner spent on their vehicle, the more it's likely to cost you. A poorly-maintained car can use 10-20% more fuel than a well-maintained one — producing more emissions as it goes. So choose a vehicle with a documented service history or get it checked over by a good mechanic before you buy.

Get climate-friendly features

Save fuel effortlessly by considering a car with these climate-friendly features.

  • Auto stop-start — allows you to set the engine to stop when you do, and start with a touch of the accelerator.
  • Smart cruise control — going at a constant speed makes life easy for your engine, so it uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions.
  • Tyre pressure monitor — alerts you when your tyre pressure falls below a certain level, helping you save fuel where the rubber hits the road.

Extra advice