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The size of SUVs and trucks continues to increase, despite some pushback from critics. One city in the country has decided to fight back against heavy-duty trucks by making the registration fees astronomical. Is this going to start a new anti-pickup truck trend?

Would you pay extra to register your heavy-duty truck?

DC Is fighting back against heavy-duty trucks
A Ford F250 heavy-duty truck sits in a dealership’s storage lot in Chicago, Illinois | Scott Olson/Getty Images

A recent Bloomberg article suggests that people are getting fed up with heavy-duty trucks. Historically, pickup trucks like the Chevy Silverado HD or the Ford F-350 were used to towing heavy equipment. That includes trailers, RVs, equipment, or whatever else might need moving by a large truck.

These days, these heavy-duty trucks are simply passenger vehicles moving people around like any other car. Bloomberg says that a Ford F-250 weighs 6,695 pounds and is twice as heavy as a Honda Accord. It is also 23 inches taller.

“Such oversized vehicles exacerbate problems across all kinds of communities, but none more so than dense urban neighborhoods full of pedestrians and cyclists.”


Earlier this year, Consumer Reports wrote about the “The Hidden Danger of BIG Trucks.” CR did some testing and found an area below the line of sight in larger pickup trucks that is completely out of view. Over 80% of the fatalities between 1990 and 2019 for this type of crash occurred in a truck, van, or SUV.

DC wants owners of vehicles over 6,000 pounds to pay extra

The District of Columbia recently proposed a way to limit these vehicles in the area. The city wants to require owners of heavy-duty trucks or other vehicles weighing over 6,000 pounds to pay an annual registration fee of $500. That’s about seven times the cost of regular vehicle registration in the area.

No other jurisdiction in the U.S. has proposed a fine for these heavy-duty vehicles yet. Mary Cheh, a DC council member who worked on the proposal, says, “You can’t ban sales of these things, but you can make them pay their own way.” If this idea does go through in DC, it will be interesting to see how it goes in the first year.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recently started cracking down too. Along with changes in emissions standards, the government wants to create safer roadways for all drivers. The agency proposed to cut nitrogen oxide emissions from 47% to 60% on heavy-duty trucks by 2045. 

Those registration fees add up to $2,500 over five years

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not factored in pedestrian crashworthiness in its crash test ratings yet. In fact, the organizing just recently declined to add these tests.

As a hybrid city/state, DC already has some of the highest vehicle registration fees in the country. Vehicles under 3,500 pounds cost $72 a year. Cars from 3,500 pounds to 5,000 pounds pay $115. Heavier vehicles cost $155. Even with those high prices, it was suggested to raise those prices even more during budgeting.

Over five years that adds up to $2,500 to register a heavy-duty truck in the DC area. But there might be a workaround. Those who opt for an electric vehicle (albeit a giant one) could avoid these fees. The GMC Hummer EV Pickup is 9,000 pounds but since it is an EV SUV, it could be exempt from high registration fees. DC hasn’t worked out all the kinks in this proposed plan, but it seems like heavy-duty truck owners might want to consider another vehicle within city limits.


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