It’s exciting when you get a new car – the first drive is always special.
But sometimes a new car can come with so much stress, especially when it comes to fees you were never aware of.
This situation quickly becomes a challenge when you never planned for any hidden fees. Car registration fees are one of the handfuls of things car owners have to worry about, but occasionally.
These fees are issued by the state government and they vary based on a number of different factors.
Yes, car registration fees can be pretty expensive – in some states than others – and this is something you need to be fully aware of before getting a car.
If you don’t know what and why the fees are charged it might seem out outrageous, especially in states like California and Oregon.
They can be ridiculously expensive that it becomes difficult to justify why.
Your registration fee can be much higher if your car is new or worth more. Car Registration is determined by many things, but the major factors include the state you live in, how new your car is, the value of your car, processing fee, and flat fee.
If you break down the registration fee of vehicles, you’ll see that it consists of several costs such as processing fees and flat fees.
The flat fee is a rate that all states charge as the basics for all vehicle registration.
However, all of the above fees varying by state, so the majority of the cost of registration depends on the state where you live.
While it might not seem like that much of a problem, it can be a huge problem for those who’re always on the move.
Table of Contents
States with Highest & Lowest Vehicle Registration Fees
While different states charge different registration fees some states may require you to pay an extra fee if you use a hybrid or an electric car.
However, Oregon is the state that charges the highest vehicle registration fee in the United States (for new cars).
The state’s DMV charges between $268.50 and $636.50 for new cars.
And they charge $306 to renew registration after two years. Florida is another high-charging state when it comes to registration.
Registering a new vehicle in Florida will cost you $225. While that is a one-time fee, you’ll have to different additional fees depending on your vehicle’s weight.
Still for Florida, registration fees after the first fee are between $14.50 to $32.50.
On the other hand, Arizona charges the lowest registration fee in the country. Registering a car in Arizona will only cost you $8. However, there’s an additional $32 for public safety.
Since states have varying charges added to the registration fee and titles, you’ll have to check your state’s DMV or transport agency website to know the complete cost of registering your car.
Below is a list of the top 10 states with the highest car registration fee (whether new or old).
- Florida ($225)
- Montana ($217)
- Iowa ($196)
- Maryland ($135)
- Oregon ($112)
- Indiana ($101)
- Alabama ($100)
- Oklahoma ($96)
- Connecticut ($88)
- California ($86)
Smog Inspection and Checks
A smog checklist is a tool smug technicians use in emission testing centers when running smog checks.
It helps the technicians record observations and findings that indicate the safety condition of a vehicle as well as non-compliance with regulations.
Based on state regulations, smog inspection is required at least every 1-2 years and often includes vehicle safety inspection.
According to the Bureau of Automotive Repair, here’s what a vehicle emissions test involves:
Before any vehicle check, smog technicians have to conduct a pre-test to be certain that smog test equipment is properly maintained and calibrated in line with the Bureau’s requirement.
- Emissions Measurement
Smog technicians track and document the readings of Hydrocarbons, Oxides of Nitrogen, and Carbon Monoxide from a vehicle emission.
Testing tools may vary but smog technicians use approved exhaust emission analyzers to measure and test the vehicle emissions.
- Functional and Visual Inspection
Smog technicians run functional and visual checks of a vehicle to detect if there are any tampered, defective, disconnected, missing, or modified emission control systems.
They also run the inspection to check if any other equipment, like the malfunction indicator light, works perfectly.
Why is Smog Checks so Important?
The United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulates vehicle emissions in the country and has set programs to check vehicle emissions and control their impact.
Here are the three major reasons why smog checks are so important:
EPA reports show that the transportation sector is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gases in the United States.
Controlling and keeping vehicle emissions in check helps reduce the negative impact of vehicles on the environment.
Medical ailments, especially involving respiratory conditions, can originate or be exacerbated by overexposure to chemicals as well as other air pollutants vehicles release.
The WHO has acknowledged the contribution of vehicle emissions to air pollution and has called for its control and reduction.
Everyone, including car owners, is impacted if vehicle emissions aren’t kept in check and if they don’t comply with the smog regulations.
But the state also suffers financial consequences as a result of non-compliance with the regulations.
Non-commercial and Specific Commercial out-of-state vehicles need a weight certification to get registered.
This requirement is mandated by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can obtain a Certified Scale location by contacting your local Vehicle Registration Office.
You can also search for the closest weighmaster or official scale site in your area. All you have to do is search for “official scale site near me” on Google.
If you can’t find any result closest to you, contact your local vehicle registration office.
Buying a Weight Certificate
Getting a weight certificate from your local public scale location is pretty easy. You can find a Weighmaster in your locality by including your zip code in your online search.
For example, New Jersey 07305. If you can’t find any result closest to you, contact your local vehicle registration office for help to get a local weigh station.
That said, a weight certificate must indicate the weight of your vehicle before you can take it for registration. But this is only if it’s an out-of-state vehicle.
Depending on the vehicle policies of your state, you must register any vehicle you own with your state transportation agency or DMV.
Here are a couple of common situations where you have to register a vehicle:
- When You Get a New Car
When you purchase a vehicle through a dealership, they’ll likely handle the registration and title for you.
But if you purchase a vehicle from a private seller, you’ll most likely have to handle the registration yourself.
- When You Move to a New State
Unless you’re active in the military or a full-time student, you’ll have to register your vehicle as soon as you move into a new city.
- Annual or Biennial Registration Renewal
Base on the state where you live, you’ll have to renew your car’s registration every couple of years (confirm how often from your state’s law).
The first time you get your car registered, you’ll be given a license plate to attach to your vehicle as a registered card.
Some states DMV will also give you a registration sticker that you’ll have to attach to your car’s window or license plate.
And when you go for renewal, you’ll get a new sticker (only if your state gives them) and a registration card.
Also, based on your state’s laws, you may have to keep the registration card with you when using the vehicle.