Washington, DC could introduce a stricter ‘fat tax’ that penalizes vehicles based on how much they weigh.
The proposal sounds like something Mazda Miata’s engineers have dreamed of, but it would result in higher vehicle registration fees based on the shipping weight provided by the manufacturers.
Vehicles weighing 3,499 lbs (1,587 kg) or less would be charged $ 72, while models weighing between 3,500-4,999 lbs (1,588-2,267 kg) would cost $ 175. It would jump to $ 250 for models weighing between 5,000-5,999 lbs (1,589-2,721 kg) before topping $ 500 for vehicles weighing 6,000 lbs (2,722 kg) or more. This means that models that fall into the heaviest category will see their registration fee increase by $ 345 annually.
Also read: The GMC Hummer EV weighs 9,063 pounds, its battery alone being heavier than a Mazda Miata
The real kicker is that the increased charges will also apply to electric vehicles that rely on heavy lithium-ion battery packs. It sounds pretty tough, but owners would get some relief as the registration fee would be $ 36 for the first two years before they were charged according to their weight with 1,000 lbs (454 kg) turned off to help compensate for the battery . However, it is worth noting that the battery pack in the GMC Hummer EV weighs 2,923 lbs (1,326 kg), so the weight credit is tight.
Passenger cars are not the only ones targeted, as the proposal will also penalize those who own heavy commercial vehicles, tractors or passenger vehicles for rent. For them, the fee would start at $ 125 and increase to $ 700 for vehicles tipping the weight at 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) or more. However, there is an extra ‘tax’ as the city would pay an extra $ 50 for every 1,000 lbs (454 kg) over 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg).
Councilwoman Mary Cheh was not shy about targeting heavy trucks and SUVs when she told Bloomberg: “You can not ban the sale of these things, but you can make them pay their own way.” She also suggested that this was done in the name of safety, as “When cars and pedestrians or cyclists come in contact, we know that the heavier the car, the worse the accident will be.”
Regardless of how you feel about the proposal, it probably does not hurt that the move would result in about $ 40 million in new revenue for the city over the next five years. Given that, it’s not surprising that the proposal reportedly “sailed through DC City Council and received unanimous approval first from the Transport and Environment Committee and then as part of the city’s overall budget package, which was approved this week.”