Vehicle Registration Fees to Increase by 20% Come The New Year

Registration fees are hiking up for drivers in the state.

But many Michiganders are hopeful it’s a change that will have a positive impact.

Come January 1, 2017, vehicle registration fees will go up 20 percent.

It’s part of a series of bills the governor passed back in 2015, to create more money to spend on roads.

9&10’s Megan Atwood and photojournalist Harrison Light tell us why some Michigan drivers aren’t opposed to this change.

New or used, gas or electric- come 2017, Michigan drivers will see an increase to the amount they pay for their registration.

“It’s one of those fees that if we want to live in Michigan, that’s just the way it is and we just have to live with it,” says Mike McFarlan, the general manager at Serra Cadillac-Subaru in Traverse City.

In 2016, the typical amount drivers paid to register a car was around $100. But once January 1 hits, drivers will pay 20 percent more.

“It’s a state fee, it’s not a dealership fee, and we’ll explain it to our customers as the questions come up,” continues McFarlan.

But hybrid owners will see an increase on top of that, a $30 tax for plug in hybrids, and $100 for pure electric cars. But car dealerships in Traverse City say they don’t think it’ll stop their buyers.

“I don’t think that we’re going see much of a deterrent over a small fee like that. I think people who are looking for these cars are specifically looking for the gas savings and the electric vehicle,” says Andy Wichern of Williams Chevrolet in Traverse City.

It’s an increase Michigan legislation voted in to provide better funding for roads across the state. Registration fees in 2017 will help drive about $200 million extra annually into fixing Michigan’s roads.

Some drivers we talked to say they don’t mind paying a fee if they see our roads improve.

“If it’s going to go towards roads, I’m all for it,” says Joshua Caberly. He continues, “The roads here are bad enough. You can lose your car in a pot hole. Just two months ago actually I had to go get a front end alignment because I hit a bump and my front tire went sideways.”

Megan Legerski, another Michigan driver, says, “There’s a few places that I think could be improved. They’re not as bad as some places but I think they defiantly can use some improvement.”