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GMC Hummer EV at the Chicago Auto Show.
GMC Hummer EV at the Chicago Auto Show.

Clean Transport

Washington DC Wants To Hike Registration Fees On Heavy Vehicles

Washington DC wants to raise its annual registration fee for vehicles weighing more then 6,000 pounds to $500.

While many states are increasing registration fees on electric cars, Washington DC is taking aim at the proliferation of humongous vehicles clogging its streets. According to The Drive, the city is considering a proposal that would raise the annual registration fee for vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds to $500. At the present time, the maximum fee is $115 and the fee for a car weighing less than 3,500 pounds is $72.

The proposal has already passed through the city’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment unanimously and was recently approved as part of the overall budget package for the city. If signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, it could add $40 million to the city’s general fund over the next five years.

The plan does offer some relief to electric vehicles, which tend to be heavier that conventional cars because of the weight of their batteries. The new fee would only apply to electric vehicles weighing more than 7,000 pounds.

Part of the rationale for the proposal is to protect pedestrians, although they tend to come off second best in any confrontation with a motor vehicle. The bigger issue, though, is that crowded Washington DC simply doesn’t have room for the growing fleet of super-sized vehicles.

There are places in the country where people need work trucks to do actual work — transporting livestock or hauling construction machinery, for example. DC is not one of those places. There is a growing market for bigger, heavier trucks in the nation’s capitol, however. It’s a real life game of “mine’s bigger than yours” in a city where manifestations of power are an integral part of the culture.

Here are some of the vehicles that could trigger the higher registration fee. A fully loaded Chevy Suburban tips the scales at 6,016 pounds. The new Jeep Grand Wagoneer is even chunkier at 6,420 pounds. King of the mountain, so to speak, is the Hummer EV at 9,046 pounds. The Rivian R1T won’t escape the higher fee either. It weighs in at 7,100 pounds, while the Ford F-150 Lightning is a relatively svelte 6,590 pounds with the long range battery. The Cadillac Lyriq checks in at just 5,915 pounds.

Washington, DC

Ram introduces new ‘Built to Serve’ edition trucks

Most of those excessively heavy vehicles are also ultra expensive, so maybe that extra annual fee will not be a factor when making a buying decision. It could even be a plus, a way of thumbing one’s nose at the rest of the world and flaunting the extra dollop of machismo those vehicles provide. If so, the city of Washington, DC will be laughing all the way to the bank.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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