A City Fights Back Against Heavyweight Cars
Oversized pickups and SUVs are exacting a deadly toll on urban streets. Here’s how one US city plans to push back.
Imagine that you, a city resident, are contemplating swapping out your mid-sized sedan for a full-sized pickup truck. And not just any pickup truck; your eye has fallen upon a heavy-duty one, like the Chevy Silverado HD or the Ford F-250. These are machines intended for towing and hauling, but they’re increasingly popular as passenger vehicles in the US, despite their massive proportions. At 6,695 pounds, the F-250 is 23 inches taller and more than twice as heavy as a Honda Accord.
If you’re a city or state leader, you have a limited arsenal of tools available to discourage residents from operating these behemoths on local streets. A proposal from the District of Columbia would add a new one: The city is poised to require owners of vehicles weighing over 6,000 pounds to pay an annual $500 vehicle registration fee], almost seven times the cost to register a modest sedan. No other US jurisdiction has created such a forceful financial disincentive against the biggest, heaviest car models.
“You can’t ban sales of these things,” says Mary Cheh, a D.C. councilmember who developed the new fee structure, “but you can make them pay their own way.”
In other words, a D.C. resident registering a heavy-duty pickup or SUV who would have paid $775 over five years in the old fee structure will now have to fork over $2,500. Notably, no exception is available for residents claiming that they need a heavy-duty truck or SUV for their work.
DC Councilwoman hates pickup trucks and intends to tax the shit out of them to dissuade ownership, even among working people who might need them.
Tell me just how out of touch DC is from regular Americans.