The vehicle fleet is getting larger and older

Household travel time topic

We have just updated the 'Number of motor vehicles' and 'Average age of motor vehicles' factsheets in our Air Quality / Transport domains. Here are the main findings:

Number of motor vehicles

Despite slower than usual growth in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand vehicle fleet continues to expand to record sizes, rising to just over 4.4 million in 2020. Meanwhile:

  • The number of motor vehicles per capita remains high compared to other countries, at 795.6 vehicles per 1,000 people.
  • While electric vehicles still represent less than 1.0% of the light vehicle fleet, the introduction of the Clean Car Discount resulted in a near-threefold increase in the representation of EVs in monthly vehicle registrations.
  • The number of electric vehicles per 1,000 people increased in all parts of the country, though they are mostly concentrated in more urbanised regions like Wellington and Auckland.


Average age of motor vehicles

The New Zealand vehicle fleet continues to age, exacerbated by fewer vehicles entering or leaving the fleet during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • In 2020, 38.4% of light vehicles were at least 15 years old. This proportion keeps rising as vehicles enter the fleet at older ages and are kept in service for longer.
  • Trucks and motorcycles are the oldest vehicle types. Respectively, they were 18.0 and 17.6 years old, on average.