DC drivers could soon pay a lot more to register big trucks, SUVs

If you have a big, heavy car, get ready to pay more to register it in D.C. when the new budget gets the mayor’s signature.

The District will include new costs for registering a vehicle, and for cars that are more than 6,000 pounds, that annual fee will be $500 — that’s up from $155.



Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh, who proposed the new rates, said heavy vehicles are damaging roads because of their weight.

“They are costing the taxpayers money, because we see a definite increase also in the effect on the roads,” Cheh said.

Pickup trucks or larger SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, can tip the scale at over more than 6,000 pounds when it comes to their shipping weight.

Cheh also said the larger vehicles are environmentally unfriendly because of how much gas they use and are also more dangerous when they crash with cars.

“So the folks who are causing harm should pay,” Cheh said.

The cost to register cars that weigh between 3,500 and 4,999 pounds will go from $115 to $175, and cars between 5,000 and 5,999 pounds will cost $250 each year — that’s $95 more than current rates. Cars that weight 3,499 pounds or less will still cost $72, when it is time to renew the registration.

The cost of registering commercial vehicles will also go up, with trucks weighing more than 7,000 pounds paying $500 and those more than 10,000 pounds paying $700 and up.

The increase in registration costs will bring in an additional $2.3 million to the city each year, which Cheh said will be used for the DC Safe Routes to School Program, which is aimed at improving safety for students who walk and bike to school.

Cheh said there is a provision that will help owners of electric vehicles be able to subtract 1,000 pounds from the manufacturer’s shipping weight, when figuring out how much a car’s registration fee will be.

According to Bloomberg, this is a first-of-its-kind effort by a local government to address “truck bloat,” a term used to label the rise of bigger trucks and SUVs on the streets. Once signed by the mayor, the new rates would take effect in October.

“If others want to follow us, I think that they would be wise to do so,” Cheh said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up