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FEEling fined: Changes to Colorado’s vehicle registration

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Posted at 7:27 AM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 09:02:59-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Getting a new or used car, whether buying or leasing, is an expense and in Colorado, vehicle registration is another part of the equation to budget for.

Travis Sheveland knows the drill all too well, he and his wife often lease new vehicles. He is used to going in to register his vehicle.

He says his most recent experience with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) caught him by surprise.

“I truly think the majority of people that are getting a vehicle this year have no idea what they’re in for,” Sheveland said.

Sheveland recently upgraded to a hybrid Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. When he went to register the car it was about $1,200, and that included about a $300 credit from his previous license plate.

"It's always been about 2% of the MSRP," Sheveland said. "This was a really big surprise for me."

One of the biggest surprises for him? A $50 late fee, after he took the temporary tag in a week after it expired.

Sheveland was under the impression there was a 30 day grace period from the date on the temporary tag, but that's not the case.

A recent change in state law, which went into effect in March, adds late fees for temporary tags. There is no grace period, the late fees are $25 a month and capped at $100.

However, back taxes and fees accumulate at the time of purchase. For example, because Sheveland's temporary plate expired on July 26th, the late fee kicked in on the 27th, and because it wasn't registered by July 31st, another $25 fee was applied at the start of August.

Back taxes and fees also apply for people who have recently moved to Colorado and don't get their cars registered within 90 days of moving to the state.

But that's not where the surprises stopped for Sheveland. With a hybrid vehicle, he's also subject to fees for electric cars in Colorado.

"Everything just keeps getting more and more expensive and I understand inflation but where does it stop?," Sheveland said.

That fee comes from a law passed by the state in 2021. It included a fee for electric and hybrid vehicles of $50 plus inflation. The fees will vary year to year, for a look at the most up-to-date fees visit the following link: Electric Vehicle Fees and click "SB21-260 fees".

The El Paso County Clerk & Recorder's office also has taxes and fees on its website as a way to try and help people understand fees they may see on their vehicle registration. El Paso County Taxes and Fees