By Andy Porter
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Some vehicle owners may get an unwelcome shock when they get registration renewals this fall.
New Washington state vehicle licensing fees that went into effect on July 1 have kicked up car and truck car tab fees, as well as increasing the state gas tax by 4.9 cents per gallon.
The increases were approved by the Legislature in 2015 as part of Connecting Washington, a package to fund many transportation projects in Washington state.
Robert Jones, a local resident, saw the registration fee for his 1992 Ford F-350 truck jump 53 percent, from $66 to $101. “It comes pretty close to being doubled,” he said. “There’s just no justification for it in my mind.”
The increase was due to a rise in the annual motor vehicle weight fees for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and other types of vehicles up to 14,000 pounds.
In Jones’ case, he paid the upper end of the $15 to $35 fee increase that is based on the weight of the vehicle.
Another increase, also ranging from $15 to $35, will be on gross weight license fees for trucks, commercial vehicles, and other types of vehicles up to 10,000 pounds that are not subject to the state’s $30 basic registration fee.
A new freight project fee will be collected on vehicles subject to the gross weight license fee with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds. This fee will be 15 percent of the gross weight license fee due at the time of annual registration.
Other increases were for commercial driver’s license fees, enhanced driver’s license and identification card fees and electric renewal vehicle fees.
Although vehicle registration fees were drastically lowered to $30 in 2000 by the Legislature in response to the passage of Initiative 695, fees have gradually increased over the years as measures to fund transportation improvement projects have been approved by legislators.
Before 2000, car and truck registration fees routinely ran into the triple digits due to the state’s 2.2 percent motor vehicle excise tax.
A car owner with a vehicle valued at $10,000 would pay a $220 yearly fee while somebody with a vehicle valued at $25,000 would be hit with a $550 car registration tab.