By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Drivers with expired vehicle registrations must act before July 1 to avoid paying an extra $10 late fee set to take effect under a new state law, the state Department of Motor Vehicles announced Monday.
The law, according to a news release issued by agency, will not affect those whose registrations are current. Agency officials are encouraging motorists to renew their registration at www.dmvNOW.com or by telephone at 1-888-337-4782.
Those renewing by mail should do so seven to 10 days before the expiration date to ensure their payment arrives in time, agency officials said. Those renewing their registration at an agency customer service center will be charged an extra $5.
Melanie Stokes, a spokeswoman for the agency, said late fees are part of the recently approved state budget. The goal, she said, is to "cover the costs of the products we issue."
The state has 7.6 million registered vehicles of which 380,000 owners renewed their registrations after they expired last year, Stokes said. Based on those figures, the state can expect to gain an extra $3.8 million in revenue from the late fee, she said.
"This won't affect anybody unless they pay late," Stokes said. "As long as you pay your bills on time, and you don't lose your license, this won't affect you."
Stokes said the commonwealth is also increasing the fee on those needing a replacement driver's license from $10 to $20. Stokes said it costs the state an average of about $26.85 to issue a replacement driver's license.
"We really needed to bring that more into line with the costs," she said in referring to replacement driver's licenses.
The costs of replacement and supplemental vehicle titles will also increase to $10 on July 1, the same as costs for other titling transactions.
Electric car owners must also pay a $50 fee for registering their vehicles after July 1, Stokes said. The $50 fee will be used to make up for the revenue the state loses from electric cars, which consume far less fuel than vehicles with standard engines. The state gas tax is 17 ½ cents per gallon, she said.