Government, Salem, TRANSPORTATION

Vehicle registration fees going up in 2020

A vehicle drives near Gales Creek on Highway 6. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

SALEM – Starting January 1, 2020, some fees to register a new vehicle, title a vehicle and purchase a trip permit will increase. 

According to an Oregon Department of Transportation press release, the fee increases were passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017 as part of a transportation funding package — called “Keep Oregon Moving” — and will target those who drive more efficient vehicles, but almost everyone can expect a fee increase. 

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In passing Keep Oregon Moving, state officials argued that those who drive more efficient vehicles aren’t paying their fair share to fund transportation and maintenance improvements. 

The lion’s share of ODOT’s budget comes from Oregon’s 34 cents per gallon gas tax, so electric vehicles and more fuel efficient vehicles end up contributing no or less funds to the gas tax coffers. 

The price increase comes on the heels of another vehicle registration fee increase administered by Washington County that began in 2018, which costs $30 every year for most vehicles. Those registering an electric vehicle in Washington County for two years will pay up to $366 to register their vehicle. 

Under the new fee increases. Oregon drivers who are registering electric vehicles or passenger vehicles that get 40 or more miles per gallon will have a choice to either pay a full fee, or pay a smaller fee and install a device that will track their vehicle’s mileage and charge additional per mileage fees each month through a state program called OReGO.

Oregon residents with tags expiring on or after January 1, 2020 will begin seeing the new fees in their mailed renewal reminders starting this November. Fees are based on the vehicle’s registration renewal date, not the date that the fee is paid, according to ODOT. 

In a summary of the new fees, ODOT noted that most passenger vehicle registration fees would cost either $122 to register a vehicle for two years that gets 0-19 miles per gallon, or $132 for two years for a vehicle that gets 20-39 miles per gallon.

Add to that Washington County’s vehicle registration fees of $60 for two years registration.

The fees become more complex for vehicles that are either electric or get 40 or better miles per gallon:

Fuel economy                             Four years Two years

40+ mpg NOT in OReGO           $304 $152

40+ mpg enrolled in OReGO      $172 $86

Electric NOT in OReGO             $612 $306

Electric enrolled in OReGO        $172 $86

Fees for commercial trucks and buses also are going up. For more information, visit the Motor Carrier Transportation Division website.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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