Legislators in Washington D.C. have proposed a law that would increase the cost of registering vehicles that weigh over 6,000 pounds. The proposal is meant to discourage D.C. city residents from using big, heavy trucks and SUVs to get around, according to Bloomberg. If passed into law, the annual cost of registration for these giant trucks and SUVs would go from $155 to $500.
The proposal affects heavy-duty pickups like the Ford F-250 and Chevrolet Silverado HD, which despite their work-truck engineering are becoming popular passenger vehicles. It would apply to large SUVs, too, like the Jeep Wagoneer and Chevrolet Suburban. Somewhat surprisingly, the Cadillac Escalade — a perennial favorite among VIPs in the U.S. capitol — manages to slide under the 6,000-pound cap in certain trims.
If passed, this would be the first proposal of its kind in the U.S. Legislators say it’s all they can do to reduce the number of heavy vehicles on city streets. It’s one way for lawmakers try to solve the problems caused by heavy trucks and SUVs: higher numbers of traffic and pedestrian fatalities, increased pollution, and accelerated wear and tear on roads and bridges.
D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh came up with the proposal and outlined its sliding-scale fee structure. Here are the registration price hikes, as explained by Bloomberg:
Annual fees for machines under 3,500 pounds would remain at $72/year, while those from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds would now cost $175. The fee for registering a car between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds would rise to $250. The biggest hit is aimed at a new category created for SUVs and trucks weighing over 6,000 pounds: Their owners would now have to shell out $500 per year.
The increase would end up costing $2,500 over a five-year period of registration for the heaviest vehicles, as opposed to the $775 it would cost under D.C.’s current fees. Councilmember Cheh said, “You can’t ban sales of these things, but you can make them pay their own way.” So, big truck and SUV buyers beware.
There is one other notable detail, and it’s about EVs. Many electric cars on the market today weigh a lot more than their conventional counterparts, thanks to heavy batteries, so the proposal includes a weight credit of 1,000 pounds for electric cars. Sounds reasonable. The city council certainly seems to think so, having unanimously approved the proposal. It’s now pending Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature before becoming law in Washington D.C.