Philadelphia, Bucks latest counties to tack on $5 fee for renewing car registration in Pa.

     Zach Hennigan works at Alex's Auto Tag in South Philadelphia. He processes about 600 auto registrations a year. (Kyrie Greenberg/ for NewsWorks)

    Zach Hennigan works at Alex's Auto Tag in South Philadelphia. He processes about 600 auto registrations a year. (Kyrie Greenberg/ for NewsWorks)

    You might notice your wallet is a little lighter next time you have to renew your car’s registration in Pennsylvania.

    Philadelphia and Bucks counties are the latest to add a $5 fee for local use, starting April 1.

    Zach Hennigan, one of the first to hear about the fee, processes about 600 registrations a year working at Alex’s Auto Tag in South Philly.

    His own car’s tags expire in May, so he tried to avoid the $5 increase by renewing his registration early. But that maneuver didn’t work.

    “Even if you try to renew early, if your registration comes April or later, you’ll still get hit with that $5 increase,” he said

    Counties were authorized to begin charging the fee last year, as part of Act 89, a state law that expanded funding for roads and bridges. Use of the funds by counties is restricted to building and maintaining infrastructure.

    Philadelphia officials expect the fees to generate up to $3.5 million a year, and the city’s Streets Department has already budgeted the income into its improvement plans.

    Officials in Bucks County say the $2.9 million they anticipate raising will help pay for a large-scale bridge repair program.

    Philadelphia, Bucks, and Westmoreland join four other counties that have enacted the fee so far. PennDOT will collect the funds and distribute the revenue among participating counties twice a year.

    Other counties just need to give PennDOT 90 days notice to begin collecting the fee on top of the standard state charge of $36 to renew the registration of a passenger vehicle.

    Despite the increase, Pennsylvania’s registration fees are affordable compared to other states, Hennigan said.

    “I know a lot of other states are more expensive than this when it comes to registration,” he said. “I’d say if people are upset that prices are going up, it could be a lot worse.”

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