According to the AA, for each litre of petrol, $61.129+GST goes to the government in excise tax. So it's not quite as bad as cigarettes or alcohol, but it's getting there.
LostBoyNZ: I know it's not the cool car to get but last year I purchased a 2006 Prius, mostly because I enjoy geeky things. There's a lot of Prius 'hate' out there, but everyone that's been in my car so far has been really intrigued by it.
My average over the past 6 months has been 21km/l, and most of that is highway driving (the Prius is more economical in town than it is on the highway, the opposite to normal cars) including a trip around up from Christchurch around half the north island.
I say bring on the electric car. Driving through a town with the petrol engine off is fantastic, and a glimpse of the future. I would imagine in the future there'll be a tax on the number of km you drive though, to replace the current petrol tax.
where the diesel comes in to its own is really that generally speaking they are more efficient than petrol equivelents, I haven't got a comparison on maintainance costs as I rarely have my cars in to the mechanic, but I would imagine the difference between 10,000km services and 5,000km services would mean an extra $100 every 10,000km or about 1c per km extra.
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These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.