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.

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

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