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Vehicle registration costs set to go up July 1

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Vehicle registration costs set to go up July 1

May 21, 2024 | 6:30 am ET
By Bryan P. Sears
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Vehicle registration costs set to go up July 1
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Maryland motorists can expect increases in the cost to register a vehicle in the state starting July 1. Photo from stock.adobe.com.

Maryland motorists will have to dig a little deeper after July 1 when they renew their vehicle registrations.

The cost of registering a passenger vehicle will increase 60-75% under new rates that take effect on July 1. The new fees, passed as part of a budget compromise between the House and Senate, include changes to weight classes of vehicles.

Vehicle registration costs set to go up July 1
Motor Vehicle Administration Administrator Christine Nizer. Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

“As directed by state law, the MVA is required to adjust vehicle registration fees that will help provide critical revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund, which ensures all of the state’s infrastructure is in a state of good repair,” Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer said. “In order to make these new fees as affordable as possible, the MVA is now offering customers the convenient option to choose either a one or two-year registration at time of their renewal.”

The new fees and a coming surcharge on electric and hybrid vehicles are part of an effort to close a $3 billion projected gap in highway and transit spending. Lawmakers said earlier this year that projects would be delayed unless the state modernizes how it pays for transportation projects.

“As vehicles become more fuel-efficient, AAA recognizes that legislators and transportation officials are having to explore alternative funding sources to offset the long-term impact of decreased gas tax revenues,” said Ragina Ali, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“The funding is critical to support roadway maintenance and transportation infrastructure, and AAA believes the revenues generated from the increased vehicle registration fee must be equitable, transparent and dedicated to meeting the identified transportation needs of motorists,” Ali said.

Currently, owners of passenger cars weighing up to 3,700 pounds pay $137 every two years.

Effective July 1, the registration fee for a passenger vehicle up to 3,500 pounds will be $221 every two years, or $110.50 annually.

Owners of passenger vehicles weighing more than 3,500 pounds but less than 3,700 pounds will pay $241 every two years, or $120.50 annually. The weight class is new.

Passenger cars weighing in excess of 3,700 pounds will cost $323 for a two-year registration, or $161.50 annually. Currently, a passenger vehicle of that weight would cost $187 every two years to register.

Some vehicle classes will see another fee increase beginning July 1, 2026.

Registration fees will increase for other commercial and noncommercial vehicles. The increased fees include $40 per vehicle that is earmarked for both the state’s emergency medical system operations — which includes the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center — and the Maryland Trauma Physician Services Fund.

A complete listing of current registration fees and the increases set for July 1 are posted on the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website.

Owners of electric vehicles will feel a second pinch.

Last year, the blue-ribbon Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs Committee recommended increased fees for electric and hybrid vehicles registered in Maryland.

In 2022, there were more than 900,000 electric and hybrid vehicles sold in the U.S. As of April 2024, more than 285,000 electric and hybrid vehicles were registered in Maryland. State officials hope to reach 1.3 million electric and hybrid vehicles by 2031 to meet climate goals.

The commission last year reported a goal of 137,000 zero-emissions vehicles by the end of 2024, a category that includes electric vehicles. Earlier this month, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration reported 102,530 electric vehicles registered in the state as of the end of April, an increase of 59% compared to January 2023.

Vehicle registration costs set to go up July 1
Gov. Wes Moore (D) takes a spin in an electric Mustang outside the Montgomery Park development in Baltimore Monday. Photo from the Executive Office of the Governor.

Last year, Gov. Wes Moore (D) said all new car sales in Maryland by 2035 must be electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are heavier than gas-powered vehicles. The additional weight causes more wear and tear to highways.

But owners of those vehicles don’t pay gas taxes, which make up the largest portion of how the state funds its Transportation Trust Fund.

The legislature adopted an interim recommendation of the commission to add a surcharge for electric vehicles. The new fees are meant to put gas and electric-powered vehicles on even footing when it comes to paying for road projects.

Those new surcharges — $250 every two years for EVs and $200 every two years for plug-in hybrids — could raise as much as $20 million, according to an estimate released earlier this year.

As with the registration fees, the surcharges can be paid in installments.

A schedule for implementing those surcharges has not been announced. They are not expected to take effect on July 1.

The TRAIN Commission is expected to continue its work this year. A final report is expected before the 2025 legislative session.

– Note: This story was updated on Tuesday, May 21, to clarify that the 900,000 electric vehicles cited in paragraph 16 was a national number; and adding the state’s goal of having 1.3 million electric or hybrid vehicles by 2031 to meet its climate goals.