Vehicle License Fee
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Regarding the Vehicle License Fee

The California Vehicle License Fee was drastically increased in 2003.  Since the RAV4-EV has a pretty high MSRP, the new fee based on this amount has become pretty uncomfortable.  However at least one California legislator thought of this and sponsored a bill (Senate Bill 1782) to protect EV owners from some of this abuse.  Simply stated, this bill demands that the Vehicle License Fee for certain alternative fuel vehicles, such as the RAV4-EV, be calculated not on the actual purchase price of the vehicle but on the value of the vehicle's ICE equivalent.  This is pretty easy to determine for the RAV4-EV which has ICE siblings rolling around everywhere.

Unfortunately some of the dealers who sold the EV's didn't do their homework.  The original purchase VLF amounts were in error, but not so noticeable at the rates in effect at that time.  However with the tripling of the rates, the renewal VLF's have crossed the threshold of pain for most EV owners.

Here's what to do about it:

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Go to your dealer and request a letter explaining this phenomenon.  You might find it necessary to first explain it to the dealer.

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Ask the dealer to provide a completed DMV form entitled "Miscellaneous Statements of Fact".  A picture of my form is available from the links below.

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Prepare a package containing these documents, your original purchase contract, your current registration certificate, your registration renewal papers from the DMV, and your title (pink slip).

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Take this package to your favorite DMV office and prepare to stand in line for a while.  Tell the agent you want to have the VLF adjusted, and you can then pay the adjusted amount.  Or if the deadline is not imminent you can defer payment a little while.

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Then tell the agent you want to apply for a refund of the overpayment on last year's VLF.

In my case, the Oceanside DMV parking lot was full and crawling with cars looking for a parking spot.  The side streets were filled with parked cars for blocks.  I didn't want to see what might be inside the building so I drove to the nearest AAA office.  There I found two DMV clerks with no lines who were eager to help, and the matter was resolved on the spot.

Here are pictures of my dealer-provided documents:

Letter

Miscellaneous Statement of Facts, front side

Miscellaneous Statement of Facts, back side

 

Copyright 2002 - 2005 Peter J. and Margaret E. Prossen. All rights reserved.
Published December 8, 2002.
Updated August 19, 2005 .

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