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Trade group pushes back on DC plan to up some vehicle registration fees

In this Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, photo, David Ruiz polishes a fully-loaded F-450 Super Duty Limited, the biggest version of the Ford F-Series, on display at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. Buyers are increasingly outfitting their pickups with all the comforts of luxury cars, from heated and cooled seats to backup cameras to panoramic glass roofs. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

A new $500 registration fee for heavier Class 4 vehicles is expected to begin in October 2023, once D.C.’s 2023 fiscal year budget is signed.

It’s a significant increase from the current $155.

In a letter to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation expressed its opposition to the new fee structure, saying that nearly 70% of new vehicles registered in the District will be impacted by the higher tax.

The organization said the fees are expected to hit drivers who use larger vehicles for work and electric vehicles, which typically weigh more due to their lithium batteries.

“Adoption of this fee structure will place Washington, D.C., at the top of the list for highest EV taxes in the country and we must oppose punitive taxes on this emerging technology. Other jurisdictions have rejected excessive EV taxes as punitive and counterproductive,” the group said.

Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh, who proposed the increase, said there is a provision that will allow owners of electric vehicles to subtract 1,000 pounds from the manufacturer’s shipping weight when calculating registration fee costs.

Mendelson responded to the organization’s concerns, saying, “It’s meant to reflect the bigger cost on our transportation system for heavier vehicles.”