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Car registrations will go up next year

When I moved to Oregon 20-plus years ago, I couldn’t believe how little it cost to register your vehicle, particularly when compared to California. Better yet, the registration lasted two years. I’m a little confused about the new fees they’ll be charging to register your car next year. Could you help me out? It appears we’re going to be paying more in registration fees. Not good.

— Tim S., Medford

You’re right, Tim, your passenger vehicle registration fee will go up starting Jan. 1, from the current $112, and here’s where things get a bit tricky, because registration fees will depend on the miles per gallon of your vehicle.

If you have a vehicle that gets up to 19 miles per gallon, you would pay $122 for two years or $244 for four years. If you have a vehicle that gets 20 to 39 miles per gallon, you’d pay $132 for two years or $284 for four years.

Drivers of electric vehicles and passenger cars that are rated at 40 miles per gallon or more have more choices. Either they can pay a full fee for two or four years up front, or pay a lower fee and a monthly per-mile charge for miles driven in Oregon by joining OReGO. Drivers would have to decide if saving $97 on fees would make sense if they opted for the per mile rate, which can be from 1 to 8 cents per mile, depending on the vehicle.

Vehicles that travel less than 6,100 miles a year would typically see a benefit from paying a tax per mile.

For vehicles that get 40 miles per gallon or more that aren’t enrolled in OReGo, the fee would be $152 for two years or $304 for four. If the same vehicle enrolls in OReGO, the fee would be $86 for two years and $172 for four years. A vehicle that averaged 1,000 miles per month and got 50 miles per gallon, would pay a monthly fee of $6.80.

An all-electric car that isn’t in OReGO would have a $306 fee, or $612 for four years. The same car enrolled in OReGO would pay $86 for two years or $172 for four.

Basically, Tim, the state is trying to recoup some of the gas-rax revenues being lost by more fuel-efficient vehicles. Those revenues are used to help maintain Oregon’s roads.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.