Tennessee drivers gearing up for increased registration fees

As part of the IMPROVE Act, which implemented the state's first gas tax increase in nearly three decades, vehicle registration fees will increase starting July 1.

It will soon cost more to register your vehicle in Tennessee, especially if you drive an electric vehicle.

As part of the IMPROVE Act, which implemented the state's first gas tax increase in nearly three decades, vehicle registration fees will increase starting July 1.

  • Passenger motor vehicles: $5 increase
  • Commercial motor vehicles for transporting passengers for hire (buses, taxis): $10 increase
  • Commercial and freight motor vehicles (semis, tractor trailers):  $20 increase
  • Electric vehicles: new $100 registration fee in addition to standard registration fee

The IMPROVE Act will add a 6-cent hike in tax on each gallon of gasoline and 10 cents on diesel. The money will go towards tackling a $10 billion dollar backlog in road projects.

In exchange for the increases, the IMPROVE Act will cut sales taxes on groceries. The 1 percent decrease will equal about $1 dollar for every $100 dollars spent on groceries.

Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett said his staff is working to get the word out to drivers about the changes.

"We want people to be prepared. We want people to understand this is a new law that's been passed and we are the collection arm and we're out there to do the most efficient and best job we can,” said Arnett.

Lawmaker Roger Kane voted against the IMPROVE act. The republican from Knoxville says a higher tax on fuel isn't a long term fix.

"So every year we're going to get less and less money because fuel efficiency is going up, so I predict we'll be back having this same discussion in five years,” Kane said.

But drivers told 10News if a few dollars more at the pump mean better roads, that may save them money.

"You worry about front end alignment, you worry about the wear and tear on your tires, but if those things are going to be helped them I’m all for it,” said one.

And for drivers coming to Tennessee, the $5 bump in tag fees is a bargain compared to surrounding states.

"It's much more expensive in Florida especially coming from another state," one visiting driver said.

"You pay according to the size of your car out in California, so you're looking at hundreds of dollars,” said another.

Right now, people in Knox County are paying $71 for the vehicle title and registration. Compared to other Southern states, that's on the low side.

Registration fees start at $225 in Florida; in North Carolina it will set you back $134 plus a 3 percent tax; and over in Kentucky tag, title and registration runs $60.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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