Every state requires motor vehicles to be registered and titled with the state’s transportation agency or department of motor vehicles.
A vehicle registration plate often called the license plate, is attached to motor vehicles for identification purposes. The vehicle title is a legal document that establishes a person as the legal owner of the vehicle. Motor vehicles may not be driven legally if they have never been registered or if the registration has expired.
The method of calculating the amount of motor vehicle registration and title fees varies widely among states. Typically, a title fee is a one-time fee assessed when the title is acquired by each owner. License plate fees structure vary. Some states have many optional or “vanity” plates which often include increased fees.
Registration fees–annual or biennial fees charged to motorists for each vehicle under operation in the state–vary significantly from state to state. Many states assess a flat fee while other states utilize a scale based on any number of metrics, including gross vehicle weight, vehicle age or even fuel efficiency, thus making a state-by-state comparison difficult.