If you’re looking for a different kind of year-end bargain, you might save a few bucks Thursday at the state Division of Motor Vehicles.
Prices will never be this low again! – for driver’s licenses, ID cards, car registrations and other documents. That’s because legislators have ordered a hefty hike in DMV fees to take effect Friday, the first day of 2016, in the biggest revenue increase of this year’s state budget.
For folks whose driver’s licenses expire on the next birthday, the price of an 8-year renewal will rise Friday to $40, an $8 increase. Car registration renewals also will cost $8 more – $36, not counting the local property tax collected at the same time, and not counting additional local vehicle taxes collected in Triangle counties.
Some of us may have one last chance Thursday to take advantage of lower 2015 prices at local DMV offices – or, for some transactions, online:
▪ Driver’s licenses can be renewed up to six months before they expire. So if yours expires before the end of June 2016, you can get a fresh one Thursday for the last-chance bargain price of $32.
▪ If you have received your DMV bill for a car registration renewal due before the end of March 2016, and you can get your car inspected Thursday, you should be able to pay the 2015 registration fee of $28.
DMV’s website has expanded in recent years to make more services available online – including car registration and most driver’s license renewals.
But do not dawdle. The website will shut down early, at 9 p.m. Thursday, for an update to register the fee increases that will take effect after midnight on New Year’s Day.
This year the legislature ordered an increase of about 30 percent for DMV fees, enough to generate an additional $150 million a year for road and bridge improvements.
The good news for drivers is that the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel will fall Friday by a penny a gallon, to 35 cents. On July 1 it will fall again to 34 cents.
Meanwhile, thanks to the political clout of North Carolina’s car dealers, the state’s low highway use tax on car sales will remain unchanged, at 3 percent, in 2016.
Find details on fees and DMV office locations, and a link to DMV’s online transactions site at ncdot.gov/dmv.
DMV fees effective Jan. 1, 2016
Here are some of the new fees, most of them rising by about 30 percent.
Vehicle title: $52
Emissions inspection: $30
Safety inspection: $13.60
License plate fee (private passenger vehicle): $36
Driver’s license: $5 per year, $40 for an 8-year license
Duplicate license: $13
Learner’s permit: $20
Commercial driver’s license: $20 per year