One of our registrations comes due in August. As such, I always get the renewal form in late July.
In order to level out our spending, I have a ‘sub-fund' dedicated to Car Registrations & Roadside Assistance (AAA) costs that I just contribute $25 per month. For the past couple of years, this has worked out great.
We bought a new (used) car last year. It actually was an SUV. I knew that our cost would most likely increase. This was mainly due to the fact that it was newer than the car it was replacing (a 2007 vs a 2003) plus that it was a bigger class of car (the state of Michigan classifies it and most SUVs as a ‘station wagon', which never fails to amuse me).
So, how much did it go up?
By $65, or 73%. Last year, I paid $89 to renew the plates on my 2003 Olds Alero. This year, the cost was $154 for the 2007 Buick Rainier.
That was a few bucks more than I had thought it would be, but at least I was prepared for it going up. We will probably have to increase the amount we contribute to this fund, but it will only be by a couple of bucks per month, so we should easily be able to absorb this.
The good news is that, for the longer we keep the cars, the annual renewal price will fall. I'm not sure how most states work, but Michigan charges you based on the estimated re-sale value of the car. Since most cars naturally depreciate, this should fall. The biggest thing I'm keeping my eye on is an idea I've seen floating around as a way to raise funds for road repairs, which would be to raise the registration fees, by as much as 100%. If this ever happened, we'd have to quickly bump up the amount we contribute to this, otherwise we'd be coming up short in a hurry.
Registration fees are just one element to remember as part of the overall cost of owning a vehicle. Don't forget to set money aside, and more importantly, don't forget to renew your tabs or you could be in big trouble!