Fun with Vehicle Licensing Fees

Yes, Prattelites, it’s that time again when I have to take my aging Electric Blue to a Smog Testing center for its biennial smog certification.  It really is quite astonishing when the financial ramifications of what our monosyllabic Governor has done to vehicle registration fees is considered.

Back during the 2003 California recall election of Gov. Gray Davis, Ahnold basically campaigned on his brand name and bulging crotch pecs, but was subbed in by brain dead voters largely because of his promise to repeal an increase in the vehicle registration fee.  And now, seven years later, we’re all paying for it.

For the crybabies in the Bay State who refer to the Commonwealth as Taxachussetts, you ain’t seen nuttin’, my brothers, because registering a vehicle over there will cost a mere $75, plus a sales tax, plus a registration fee according to the RMV fee schedule.  But no matter what that price may ultimately amount to, I’m fairly assured that it is nowhere near what a driver in California will pay this year for, say, a 2009 gas-powered vehicle priced at a very low end, $22k price tag.

The California DMV has thoughtfully provided a fee calculator right on the website with a convenient breakdown of all the taxes and fees involved.  The VLF is equal to approximately 10% of what you paid for it.

Behold the following spectacular end result when someone whose only claim to fame is shooting steroids and making movies is put in charge of state governance.   If Ahnold hadn’t repealed the VLF fee hike seven years ago, the equally incompetent State Legislature wouldn’t have had to keep raising it every year since.

click to enlarge

Of course, yours truly does not have the good fortune to drive a 2009 vehicle, and so my ghetto cruiser rings in at $95.00, plus what it’s going to cost to have it smog tested.  Note here that this is the highest registration fee I’ve ever had to pay on the same car in over ten years of living in California.  Every year since Ahnold took office, the VLF has risen an average of $20.  Ordinarily, an older model would get a break on the VLF as it ages, but only if the fee had not been tampered with in order to buy votes. Thanks, Ahnold!

Just as a footnote to this amazing exercise in factoidery, the announcement  from GM that it will no longer manufacture the H3 will no doubt bring despair to some, but consider with me for a moment what a driver of a 2009 H3 will pay to register it based on the standard $40k price tag.

According to the fee calculator, $4,059 is the grand total.  I don’t want to chuckle because it’s not polite to laugh at the mentally deficient, but I’m going to anyway because if you’re dumb enough to buy an oversized vehicle with a CAFE average of 10 miles to the gallon, then you deserve whatever ridicule you get.


VLF Facts

LAO Reports A Primer on the VLF

2009–10 Budget Analysis Series

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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