Virginia's DMV has a surprise for the owners of fuel-efficient vehicles…

Virginia’s DMV has a surprise for the owners of fuel-efficient vehicles…

I recently renewed the registration on my four vehicles. I have a 1985 Toyota Corolla LE that my wife bought new and no matter what, it will never be traded in… I have a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500, 4x4, Cummins Turbo Diesel (what’s that grunt that “Tim the Tool Man” makes…), a 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE (a good car, but nothing special…), and a 2020 Honda Fit Hatchback (what’s that sound that Hefty Trash Bag’s competitor makes, Oh yeah; Wimpy, Wimpy Wimpy…).

But I digress, I renewed the registration on all four vehicles. I had read that Virginia passed a new law that lowered vehicle registration fees, but added a highway use fee.

The Highway Use Fee was meant “to create sustainable funding for transit, rail, and roads, invest in systemic safety improvements, and support a multimodal system in Virginia.”

The article said that vehicle registration fees would be cut by $10, which comes out to a 25% reduction for most Virginians.’’

That meant that the registration fee for the Ram Truck (weighs more than 4,000 lbs) went from $45.75 to $35.75, and the registration fee for each of the three cars went from $40.75 to $30.75.

But that Transportation Bill also comes with an increase of the statewide gas tax by five cents in 2020 and then another 5 cents in 2021, as well as a new highway use fee.

Now we get to the dirty little secret of the “New Highway Use Fee,” it also includes an add-on fee when you register your fuel-efficient vehicles.

Since the gas tax is one of Virginia’s key funding sources for road projects, the Northam administration (that’s our Democrat Governor…) proposed a fee on fuel-efficient vehicles to ensure users pay something closer to the amount that they use when it comes to roads.

Their rational is that since Fuel Efficient vehicles use less gas (hence, they buy less gas and do not pay as much gas tax) they need to be “punished” for that conservation and pay the “piper” for the privilege to drive on Virginia’s roads…

Fuel-efficient vehicles would be those with a combined miles-per-gallon rating of 25 or greater, electric vehicles, or alternative fuel vehicles that run on something other than gasoline or diesel.

Local governments would also be able to continue charging additional local registration fees at the current levels.

Now, with all this talk about the added fee for fuel-efficient vehicles, nowhere did the actual fee ever appear in print. If you called the DMV, they said the amount is statutory (set by law) and the fee was based on the gas mileage of the vehicle and they claimed they did not have any idea how it computed nor what it would be unless they actually ran the renewal on the computers, but of course, all of this was happening during the worse of the pandemic with the DMVs locked, with no one to answer the phones. (PS: I had to go in to correct the Honda’s Title; the DMV originally said the Honda had 3-axles…)

Because Virginia shuttered the DMVs, they gave everyone a 90-day grace period extension on their registrations and it took me almost 5-weeks to get an appointment after the DMVs opened for an appointment to register the vehicles (they have now enacted appointment-only visits permanently…). I do not know how long you would have to wait if you buy a car from a private party and would like to register quickly.

But again I digress… The '85 Toyota is “Grandmother’d” because of its age and not classified as a fuel-efficient vehicle (my wife named the '85 “Eleanor,” hence it’s Grandmother’d). As for the Ram Truck, it also is not considered a fuel-efficient vehicle (who would have guessed?). Their registration fees were $30.75 and $35.75 respectively.

But both the '19 Toyota and the '20 Honda are considered fuel-efficient vehicles. The Toyota is rated at 36-MPG and has an add-on Highway Use Fee of $37.24, plus the standard Registration Fee of $30.75, for a total of $69.99. The '20 Honda is rated at 33-MPG and has an add-on Highway Use Fee of $30.13, plus the standard Registration Fee of $30.75, for a total of $60.88… These MPGs ratings are the manufacturer’s figures.

Trust me, when the DMV clerk told me the total cost of registering these two vehicles, I had a hard time believing that they were wearing that face mask for health reasons verses for highway robbery…

I ultimately did find the DMV’s web address to compute the Highway Use Fee.

If it has not already happened, I believe all states will follow suit, anything to raise more tax money…

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I don’t live in Virginia so I don’t have that problem yet as my state has not changed anything yet, But with other things getting higher priced to the point of becoming absured I have also wondered about the face masks. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

The politicians here in OK tried to raise gas taxes some years back. During the push they got what they thought was a gift from heaven.
A woman from TX was killed instantly when a chunk of interstate overpass fell off and went through the windshield of her car. They drug the woman’s family into doing commercials which stated “Don’t let out mother have died in vain. Please vote yes on the OK gas tax”.

It was then discovered that overpass had just been inspected and given a pass a month before so the DOT became suspiciously quiet after that.
It was also discovered that approx. 60% of the highway/bridge money was being diverted by politicians to spend on pet projects.
So on election day the gas tax when down in flames 80 something percent to a low double digit percent which sent politicians back underneath their flat rocks.


Here’s a copy of the bill to renew the registration for my 31 year old, 250cc motor scooter. In addition to this, California gas tax is 63 cents a gallon. You pay $70 to renew on a 2019 Toyota, and 21.2 cents a gallon in gas tax. Want to swap deals?

Heh heh. It’s a little known fact that wearing face coverings in Minnesota is against the law except in the bitter cold. We only wear them when we are ordered to. At any rate, I don’t remember precisely what my license fees were (OK wait I’ll look it up). I surprised myself, I only paid $64 for one and $253 for the other. I thought it was more, and that included a $10 county tax to help with roads. My South Dakota relatives though pay about $35. Ours are based on value though. Back when I worked for AAA we used to brag that AAA was responsible for making sure that the fees went to roads and not anything else. They backed the law back in 1920 or so, but only if it went for roads. Of course that has changed some now. Any place there is money, people want part of it. So I sympathize when costs go up but people usually don’t mind if they see “results”. Still I think our governors are maybe brothers from different mothers as they say. I don’t trust anything he says. He speaks in terms of Hebrew poetry by repeating everything he says in multiple different ways. Says the same thing over and over again just so he can listen to himself and fill air time. We call him the IB. Use your imagination.

We have nice people at the DMV though. It is a private business, processing the various requirements. I was surprised though when I went to get my “tabs”, I had to call them to get on the wait list. Then wait in the car until they called me to come inside. Like I had leprosy or something. Still I didn’t have to stand in line with a lot of coughing strangers so it worked. I have a lot of respect for anyone having to deal with the public all day.

Keep an eye on your guy though, I’m hearing some crazy stuff in Virginia. Say hi to my friend in Front Royal.

In Washington State there’s a $75 surcharge on top of your registration fees that’s supposed to help offset the gas taxes you’d otherwise be paying in. Dad got a little angry at this last year because it’s a set fee and didn’t give any credit for driving less than half as much for the year as they normally would with the 2010 Prius. Ev’s and Plug in Hybrid’s pay even more. CNG and other alternative fuels have some sort of surcharge. Still not as bad as the fees you pay in Seattle or Tacoma for regional transit. Being within the Olympia City Limits I pay a $40 surcharge that my parents in the county don’t.

Depends on what part of the state you live in,
I just put new tabs on my truck last month, $63.47, The light rail they are putting in will never reach out here where I live so we don’t have to pay it.

Our gas tax in WA, is 67.4 cents a gallon, 49.4 cents of that is state.

NH legislation is looking at the same thing. They want to add a tax to electric vehicles. And some politicians want to add a tax to people who put solar panels on the homes - that one isn’t going to fly.

Virginia appears to be punishing drivers of fuel efficient vehicles rather than encouraging them.

Lemme lay some logic down here…

All vehicles pay for registration, big guzzlers and small fuel sippers. Lets say that pays for traffic lights, crosswalks and the basics that every vehicle needs to get from point A to B.

Next we have the gas tax. That is a variable tax based on consumption. Big heavy vehicles that do more damage to the bridges and road surfaces use more fuel so they pay more tax. It is a use tax…the more you drive, the more you pay. The lighter, fuel sipping cars do far less damage and thus pay less in gas taxes because they buy less fuel. Seems only fair.

The monkey wrench in the mix is electrics and hybrids that are generally heavier than the fuel sippers but don’t pay much gas taxes because they use no, or little gasoline. This is the justification for the surcharge. But these are the cars those very same politicians WANT you to go and buy to save the environment so why the disincentive? Because they are greedy and think you are stupid.

Simpleton politicians doing stupid things. You get what you elect.


Must be nice. I pay over $250 for 2 cars in Michigan.

Imposing extra fees on high-mpg cars is an answer to the problem of getting enough money to fix roads. However, given all the interest in reducing CO2 emissions, it’s the wrong answer. I bet the extra money from those fees could easily have been gotten by a tiny increase in the per-gallon gas tax. Gas taxes encourage less gas use, fees don’t. This doesn’t solve the problem with plug in EVs and hybrids, those will need some other way to contribute to road funds.


Every state I’ve ever lived in has an added gas tax that is (suppose) to be used toward roads. However a lot of it ends up in the general fund. Same with the Federal Gas tax.

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That’s the hybrid tax, in Oregon they’ve started offering a pay per mile option.

“Democrat” is NOT an adjective!
When that childish pejorative pops up is when I stop listening. :face_vomiting:


Virginia has the third lowest gasoline tax in the US, bested only by Alaska and Hawaii. North Carolina’s tax is more than double Virginia’s.

That is because democratic does not end with rat.

Here in Ohio, it’s gonna cost me $200 per year for the tags on my Chevy Bolt EV

Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. Of course doesn’t change anything. But yeah, me too. There are a couple names that as soon as I hear them on the TV or radio, I shut them off. B, C, F, and problem is the list keeps growing.

That’s what my friends that live in Ohio told me. The EV surcharge makes some sense to me. What is that? $150 or so extra over the regular license fee? Figure $0.385 state gas tax, and $0.184 federal… You are paying gas taxes like driving a 40 mpg car for about 14,000 miles a year. Ohio gets it ALL and the feds get NONE of that money. Good for Ohio, bad for you.

Florida adjusts the license fee by vehicle weight. My truck costs more than my Mustang… but it weighs 40% more, too. Not hitting us with an EV fee, yet. The toll roads may even that bit out

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What a wonderful lot of response I received to my posting of the surprise fee on my cars. I know I have it a lot better than a lot of folks do. As you can see in the responses, some of the registration fees are ridiculously high. The one small reward everyone has is if you are in the high cost states, this might give you some relief to commiserate with someone else paying these outrageous fees and for those of us who pay on the lower side, it gives us something to be thankful for…

I and my wife grew up in upstate New York; I enlisted in the Air Force and served over 30-years and I was stationed 3 separate times in Virginia, for a total of 13 years, so after retirement, New York just was not “home” anymore, and we settled here in Virginia. As for taxes on property, my brother’s home in upstate New York has approximately the same assessed value as ours; however, his property tax exceeds $14,000 a year, while ours is less than $4,000. Therefore, I know just how lucky I am when it comes to property tax.

Folks have mentioned the “General Fund” in their state’s budget several times and I’ll get up on my soap box this last little “tirade…”

Most, if not all states have a lottery of some kind and I imagine your state “brags” that the moneys go to education. But from all the research that I’ve done over the years, that is true, but not as straight forward as it sounds.

The moneys go into the general funds. Schools are supported by the general funds, so yeah, lottery money supports schools.

But they say it like all the profits go to make schools better, not entirely true. Before the lotteries, the schools submitted their budgets and they received their funds from the general funds (from the school taxes we all pay). But with the lottery profits mixed into the General Fund, the “school taxes” you pay kind of loses it way… The schools submit their budgets (our school taxes are still computed based on their budgets), and they receive their funds, just like the good old pre-lottery days… But the schools still get the same amount, nothing extra from all those lottery profits… No sir, the “color” of that money is now all the same. Did your school tax payment go down, did the school get extra money from all those profit? Not a chance.

Jeez, if they wanted to, they could say the lottery profits pay for the police, the fire department, ambulance service, water treatment, social services, and the list goes on and on, as it all comes out of the General Funds…

And that is what really makes me mad, the schools do not get one more penny from the hundreds of millions of dollars (billions of dollars when you consider the whole United Sates…) the lotteries bring in and our school children rank 38th in the world in math and 24th in the world in science. But they and hold their own when it comes to updating Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Reddit, YouTube, and WhatsApp.

I’m so proud…

Now, back on point, what other fees have you been faced with concerning your car, truck, motorcycle, etc…

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