Q. I have a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck. It is not for commercial use but only for local driving and pleasure that also has a permanent attached shell on it. I pay a commercial registration fee every year even though it is not used in that manner. However, my question is concerning the Department of Motor Vehicle registration fees. I always thought that as a vehicle ages, the registration fee goes down. Last year, in 2022, I paid $318 for registration and now in 2023 it is $323. What is the deal with increased registration as vehicles gets older? Is this just another California rip-off or what? I am sure others would like to understand this as well.
– John E. Hamilton, Lake Forest
A. There are a few notable things about getting older that are quite dandy — smarter decisions about eating, drinking, sleeping and credit cards, for example.
Honk, like you, John, thought aging vehicles had an upside, too — lowered registration fees.
“Only the Vehicle License Fee is reduced each year based on a depreciation table and for this specific vehicle, the current Vehicle License Fee of $31 is the minimum that will be charged annually,” Angelica De La Pena, a DMV spokeswoman, told Honk in an email.
In the truck’s case, John, the $5 bump was the result of fees tied to the Consumer Price Index rising: $3 for the specific registration fee, and a buck each for the California Highway Patrol and the transportation improvement fees.
De La Pena did suggest a way to win a nice windfall, though — proving to the DMV that the truck isn’t used for commercial purposes.
That camper shell is a piece of evidence that Perry Mason would have licked his chops over.
“A pickup truck with a permanently attached camper shell may be eligible to be registered as an auto, which would eliminate the annual commercial-weight fee that is assessed on commercially plated vehicles,” she said. “For this specific vehicle, the annual $154 weight fee would no longer be assessed once registered as an auto.”
To learn more on how to do it, John, go to dmv.ca.gov and plug “Commercial to Standard License Plates” into the search bar.
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Q. Where are they dumping the snow from the recent storm that is being plowed in the San Bernardino Mountains? I remember when Buffalo and Boston got hit harder than usual in years past, and they had to dump the snow into Lake Erie or the ocean. There was just nowhere else to go that was not already covered to the limit. Maybe given the topography here, the workers dump it over a cliff and into a canyon somewhere. Inquiring minds want to know.
– Alexis Dragony, Long Beach
A. Honk readers are smart cookies.
On the state highways, there is room to the side to kick or toss the snow.
But in the communities such as Lake Arrowhead, Crestline and Running Springs, off of the state highways, the county roads are narrow and often pass by homes.
So the San Bernardino County Public Works Department, deploying employees and contracted workers, is loading up bulldozers with the white stuff and piling it into dump trucks. Those dump trucks then trundle to one of the highways and go to a turn-out, where there is extra roadway room, and toss the snow over the side and into wilderness.
“It’s a 24-hour operation,” said Eric Sherwin, a spokesman for the agencies responding to the storm.
To ask Honk questions, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk