This section provides the latest statistics on vehicle numbers and the average age of vehicles in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The use of motor vehicles can impact human health through air pollution, crashes and accidents, climate change as well as through noise. In particular, motor vehicle emissions produced through the combustion of petrol and diesel affect outdoor air quality and human health (Kuschel et al 2022).
Diesel-powered vehicles and vehicles which are older or poorly maintained tend to produce more emissions. Recent evidence also shows that diesel engine fumes can cause lung cancer (IARC 2023).
light passenger vehicles (passenger cars and vans)
light commercial vehicles (which includes the following if under 3,500 kg: goods vans, trucks, utilities, buses and motor caravans)
trucks (including the following if over 3,500 kg: goods vans, trucks, utilities and motor caravans)
buses (only those over 3,500 kg, with lighter examples classed as 'light commercial vehicles')
motorcycles (including mopeds)
electric vehicles (including pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles).
Kuschel G, Metcalfe J, Sridhar S, Davy P, Hastings K, Mason, K et al. 2022. Health and air pollution in New Zealand 2016 (HAPINZ 3.0): Volume 1 –Findings and implications. Report prepared by G Kuschel, J Metcalfe, S Sridhar, P Davy, K Hastings, K Mason, T Denne, J Berentson-Shaw, S Bell, S Hales, J Atkinson and A Woodward for Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Health, Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Baan RA, Grosse Y, Lauby-Secretan B, El Ghissassi F, Bouvard V, et al. (2012). Carcinogenicity of diesel-engine and gasoline-engine exhausts and some nitroarenes. The Lancet Oncology 13(7): 663-664. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70280-2
Ministry of Transport. 2023. 2021 Annual Fleet Statistics. Wellington: Ministry of Transport. Available online: https://www.transport.govt.nz/statistics-and-insights/fleet-statistics/sheet/2021-annual-fleet-statistics