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These vehicles may be exempt from paying road user charges (RUC):

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are exempt from RUC if their motive power is derived wholly or partly from an external source of electricity. 

An external source is when the vehicle can be plugged into the wall or another source of electricity. This means that fully electric vehicles and plug-in vehicles are usually exempt from RUC. Full, or mild hybrid vehicles that cannot plug in to recharge, are usually not subject to RUC unless they use a fuel other than petrol (eg diesel), or if the vehicle has a gross vehicle mass over 3.5Tonnes. 

Fuel cell electric vehicles

Vehicles that generate electricity on board through the use of a fuel cell (eg hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles) don't meet the definition of being an electric vehicle and must pay RUC. 

However, if a fuel cell electric vehicle can be plugged into an external source of electricity to recharge it's onboard battery, it's considered to have a motive power that's derived partly from an external source of electricity. This means it's considered an electric vehicle and is exempted from RUC. 

How long is the exemption for?

  • Light electric vehicles (gross laden weight 3500kg or less) are exempt from RUC until 31 March 2024.
  • Heavy electric vehicles (gross laden weight more than 3500kg) are exempt from RUC until 31 December 2025.

Vehicles unsuitable for regular road use

A vehicle is exempt from paying road user charges if it belongs to a class of vehicles whose purpose or design means it is unsuitable for regular road use.

Vehicles unsuitable for regular road use are listed below:

Description of vehicle type

A tractor – a motor vehicle (other than a traction engine) that is designed and constructed, and not merely adapted, for traction and powering implements

A traction engine

A forklift, telehandler or sidehandler

A self-propelled machine that is designed and constructed (not merely adapted) for the following specialist industrial purposes:

  • aerodrome runway sweepers
  • electrical substations
  • filters for transformer oil
  • log haulers that are stationary when hauling logs
  • aero engine test benches

A self-propelled vehicle (other than a tractor) or towed vehicle that is designed and constructed for (not merely adapted) agricultural purposes, including:

  • combine harvester
  • maize harvester
  • pea viner
  • windrower
  • silage chopper
  • hay balers
  • hay rakes
  • cultivation equipment
  • silage wagons
  • feed troughs

but not including:

  • a self-propelled or towed vehicle designed for spreading fertiliser if it is used on a road for the cartage of fertiliser
  • a self-propelled vehicle designed as a weed sprayer built on a truck chassis

A trailer towed by a traction engine, a forklift, telehandler, sidehandler or self-propelled machine described above

A motor vehicle propelled and supported solely by self-laying tracks

All terrain vehicle

Aerodrome crash fire tenders used on road only in emergencies

Trailer scraper (not self-propelled)

Plant for servicing oil filled cables

Road rollers

Stone and gravel crushing and screening plant

Bulldozers and angle dozers

Front end loaders

Mobile pile drivers

Motor scrapers (self-propelled)

Self-propelled water carts that are always unladen on the road

Self-propelled trench diggers and excavators

Self-propelled vehicles that are always unladen on the road and that are designed exclusively for carrying earth or other bulk materials

Mobile cranes (excluding mobile vehicle recovery units, truck mounted cranes, and cranes to which a distance recording device is or could readily be fitted)

Motor graders

Cable jinkers

Post debarkers

Saw bench apparatus

Forestry chippers that are used exclusively in the operation or management of a forest

Sawing or shearing apparatus for tree cutting

Log haulers that are not self-propelled and are stationary when hauling logs

Log forwarders

Log processors

Light vehicles eligible for a RUC exemption

Light diesel vehicles (ie weigh less than 3.5 tonnes) that are used almost exclusively off-road for the following purposes may be eligible to be granted a permanent exemption from paying road user charges. The eligible purposes are:

  • agricultural
  • defence
  • education
  • forestry
  • industrial
  • medical
  • search and rescue
  • tourism.

The vehicle must meet the following criteria to retain the exemption:

  • ownership remains with the person who was granted the exemption, and
  • the vehicle is driven almost exclusively off-road, and
  • the vehicle is driven on public roads only within 10km of the boundary of the property where it’s usually kept, and
  • the vehicle has the exemption sticker displayed in the windscreen at all times.

If any of these criteria change, the exemption ceases and a new application must be made or a RUC licence must be purchased.

How to apply

You will need to make an Application for RUC exemption under section 40 of the RUC Act 2012 (RUCEX).

If your details have changed

If you already have a RUC exemption for an off-road light diesel vehicle, but your details have changed, you need to make an Application to change details of RUC exemption (RUCEC).