Want to Drive a Big Pickup Truck in D.C.? It’s About to Get (Even More) Expensive

D.C. is considering a $500 vehicle license fee for private vehicles over 6,000 pounds.

2 minute read

May 27, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A row of white pickup trucks at a car dealership.

Ronald Plett / Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. is considering a new law that would add a significant financial disincentive for owning and operating the large pickup trucks and sports utility vehicles that have become so popular in the United States in recent years.

David Zipper reports for Bloomberg that D.C. is “poised to require owners of vehicles weighing over 6,000 pounds to pay an annual $500 vehicle registration fee, almost seven times the cost to register a modest sedan.” 

“No other US jurisdiction has created such a forceful financial disincentive against the biggest, heaviest car models,” adds Zipper.

The safety risks of these large private automobiles is clear, at a time when traffic fatalities are increasing across the board in the United States and Americans are spending more and more time behind the wheel of large vehicles.

“Such oversized vehicles exacerbate problems across all kinds of communities, but none more so than dense urban neighborhoods full of pedestrians and cyclists. Driving a large pickup or SUV increases the likelihood you’ll kill or injure someone; its thirsty power plant (the F-250 gets 15 mpg) spews more air pollution and greenhouse emissions,” writes Zipper.

The trend toward massive automobile is so conspicuously harmful that the Onion chimed in back at the beginning of 2020—before the pandemic really amped up the trend.

All of which makes the potential of D.C. charging large truck drivers such a hefty price particularly notable—until the federal government steps in, cities looking too limit the impact of large trucks on streets and communities will have to look for creative forms of disincentive.

“Other state and local leaders alarmed by “truck bloat” would be wise to study the D.C. law, which represents a first-of-its-kind effort to address the negative externalities — or costs borne by others — associated with larger, heavier SUVs and trucks,” writes Zipper.

Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Bloomberg

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

March 4 - GovTech

New York MTA Bus

Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages

An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.

March 4 - Streetsblog California

View of Hollywood Reservoir with palm trees in foreground and Los Angeles neighobrhoods in background.

California's Stormwater Potential

A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.

March 4 - Cal Matters

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.