Fuel economy ratings

Why fuel economy is important

The importance of fuel economy is simple - it saves you money.

A fuel efficient car makes personal sense. The less fuel you use, the more money you save. The way that you drive and maintain your car can also affect its fuel economy. Find out more at fuelsaver.govt.nz.

At the moment, most vehicles run on either petrol or diesel (fuel that is also known as 'fossil' fuel). There isn't an endless supply of 'fossil' fuels and this is a problem given the high energy use of the transport sector: transport makes up 44% of national energy consumption. Of this, passenger transport makes up 57%.

To tackle this problem:

  • alternative fuels are being researched
  • biofuels (alternative fuels produced from renewable resources) are becoming available at the fuel pump. (Check with the manufacturer to see whether your car is compatible.)
  • technology is being developed to make engines more efficient
  • more 'hybrid' and electric cars are becoming available. Hybrid cars can switch between electric battery power and fossil fuels, whereas electric cars run solely on electric battery power.

There's also a new interest in small diesel-powered cars.

Fuel economy standards

Japanese and European fuel economy tests use different conditions. This means that their test results are different too. The same vehicle tested in both Japan and Europe will be given a different value as a result of each test.

Before we can calculate our fuel economy ratings and annual costs, we need these vehicles to have the same value. Vehicles tested to a Japanese standard (most Japanese used imports and some new vehicles) have their values adjusted to the equivalent European value. This is done in two ways:

  • through a comparison of Japanese and European fleets
  • through a review of the data available for vehicles tested to both standards.

This testing is becoming standardised as Japan starts to adopt similar testing to the European standard. This will eventually remove the need for this adjustment.

Fuel economy ratings

The fuel consumption ratings on this site are obtained in the same way as fuelsaver.govt.nz.

Fuel consumption ratings are based on test data provided when the car was manufactured.

The more stars a car has for fuel economy, the more fuel efficient it is.

Generally a car that runs on petrol will have the same star rating for fuel economy as it will for CO2 emissions.

Fuel economy comparisons

When you compare two or more cars on this site, you can see the litre/100 km value below the ratings and what this means in terms of annual fuel cost.

The annual cost is based on a vehicle travelling 14,000 km over a year and the current national average petrol or diesel fuel price. Diesel costs include Road User Charges (RUC). You can refine this for your travel habits by checking out fuelsaver.govt.nz.