New South Carolina residents face gas tax-related fee hike after July 1

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Starting July 1, when South Carolina's new gas tax takes effect, those registering their car in South Carolina for the first time are going to notice a bigger bill at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"If you register your car after July 1, you'll go to the county you live and pay your taxes and go to the DMV to get your tag. At that point, rather than pay a $24 fee, which is what you pay now, you're going to pay a $250 fee," Dorchester County Auditor J. J. Messervy said.

The $250 fee to be paid starting July 1st is actually a infrastructure maintenance fee for people who are registering a vehicle from out of state and will be paid on top of the state's $24 biannual registration fee.

Rather than paying a vehicle sales tax , on July 1st 2017, SC residents who purchase a new vehicle will pay a $500 infrastructure maintenance fee or 5% of the vehicles sales price, but no more than $500. This replaces the sales tax.

"Crap that's a lot! That's, that's almost exorbitant," one new South Carolinian said.

This fee is for people who register in South Carolina for the first time.

"I know because I have to register my car from out of state I already have to pay about $250 and adding another $200 to that, yea," one new South Carolinian said.

The fee is part of the gas tax bill that South Carolina just passed, and one portion of the bill states "The Department of Motor Vehicles shall transfer eighty percent of every fee collected on motor vehicles pursuant to subsections (B) and (C), but not to exceed two hundred forty dollars, to the Department of Transportation to be allocated to the state-funded resurfacing program."

"This is a huge change as far as that's concerned," Messervy said. "When you talk about the gas tax, I believe it's going up two cents per year where this is going to be a large fee to hit right away."

Rather than waiting until the last minute, Messervy advises that it's best to do it early than pay the new and higher price.

"If you're a person that needed to register your car and hadn't had an opportunity or whatever else, this is a time for you to save yourself $250 on every vehicle you own," Messervy said.

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