The latest Clean Car Import standards for car dealers

The Government announced intentions to establish the Clean Car Import Standard on 28th January of this year (CCS). The standard attempts to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions by balancing the importation of high- and low-emission cars.

At the moment, the light cars entering the nation are among the least fuel efficient and emit the most pollutants of any OECD country. In New Zealand, the typical car emits around 171 grammes of CO2 per kilometre (g/km). Our automobiles and SUVs emit an average of 161 grammes of CO2 per kilometre, compared to 105 grammes per kilometre in Europe. In 2017, the most efficient car models on our market produced on average 21% more emissions than their British counterparts.

The Clean Car Standard will establish fuel economy criteria for the nation’s transportation fleet in order to minimise CO2 emissions. Currently, it involves a 2023 target of 139 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled for average emissions from new and used imported light cars. This figure would fall to 128g/km the next year and 105g/km in 2025.

Additionally, it has hinted at a programme similar to the “feebate” scheme introduced last year, stating that it is exploring an incentive to convert to cleaner vehicles.

From 1 April 2022, high-emitting vehicles will face penalties, while low-emitting vehicles will get refunds. This will be accomplished through the use of a sliding scale. This is a continuation of the Discount Scheme, which began on 1 July 2021 and offered subsidies to purchasers of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Fees on high-emission cars serve as a deterrent to purchase and pay subsidies for zero- and low-emission vehicles. Vehicles with emissions that are neither very low nor extremely high will not be eligible for rebates or charges.

Car importers have two years to organise their line-ups, with fines imposed on companies who do not reach a yearly reduction objective (towards the final targets of 105g/132g) starting in 2023. The current average for vehicles and SUVs in New Zealand is 161g; the fleet as a whole is roughly 171g.

The standard is already in place. Dealers will be required to monitor and report the emissions profile of automobiles they import beginning this year. In 2023, penalties and credits will begin to be enforced. According to the government, this time period should provide importers with sufficient time to react to the new laws and arrange their vehicle mix.

This implies that each automobile manufacturer is required to declare the quantity of CO2 produced by each vehicle. Cars with high CO2 emissions will face fines, however these costs can be offset by credits earned for the importation of low-emission vehicles. The importers’ challenge will be to bring in a ‘balanced’ blend of vehicles in order to minimise end-of-year penalty commitments.

It’s also worth noting that 2022, the first year of the Standard, will serve solely as a time of importer registration, education, and preparation. Until January 1, 2023, suppliers are not required to achieve any objectives.

How it will function:

Each provider will have a unique objective to meet, based on the size of its fleet. It must guarantee that the average CO2 emissions from the cars it imports are equal to or less than the objective for its vehicles. Due to the way it works, vehicles that exceed the CO2 target can continue to be imported as long as they are offset by a sufficient number of zero and low emission vehicles.

The 2025 aim will be phased in over a period of years with progressively reduced yearly targets. This provides time for car providers to change and source sufficient clean automobiles to satisfy the requirements, as well as to encourage purchasers to choose for low emission vehicles.