It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not referring to Thanksgiving or Christmas or anything having to do with the holiday season. I’m referring to the letter in the mail I get each year around this time from the State of Washington reminding me that it’s time to renew my vehicle license tabs.

My car is another year older, the value drops, and yet, the cost to renew my license tabs in Washington State goes up. How can this be?

Do You Have to Register Your Car in Washington State?

In a word, yes. Every state, including Washington, requires that a vehicle be registered by a resident before it can be legally driven. So, skipping out on paying for my tabs this year isn’t an option.

Having a vehicle registered helps to keep a running record. This is beneficial when one goes to sell the vehicle. It's also one of the ways that we the people can contribute to transportation costs in the state by way of paying some lovely fees.

How To Get Tabs and New Registration in Washington State?

It's very easy to renew vehicle tabs for your car in Washington State. One doesn’t even have to leave the house, but simply pay online. The State will send the tabs in the mail. Easy. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time – and don’t wait until the last minute – so you won’t have to drive around with expired tabs until the new ones arrive.

There are plenty of in-person options such as the Department of Licensing. Several auxiliary locations are available throughout the state as well. I have regularly stopped in a Wray’s Food & Drug at 56th & Summitview in Yakima. Quick and easy to combine a grocery shopping trip, tab renewal, and the ever-increasingly necessary lottery ticket purchase in an effort to help with the rising tab renewal costs.

How Much do Vehicle License Tab Renewals Cost in Washington State?

This number will vary across the state, with Seattle area car owners paying a bit more (rightfully so) than some here in Eastern Washington.

Here’s a look at the breakdown from my renewal notice. And heck no, I’m not going to pay the additional $5.00 optional fee for parks. For more information, you can visit the DOL website HERE.

Brian Stephenson
Brian Stephenson, Townsquare Media

Washington State Parks and Environmental special license plates include:

The following types of State Parks and Environmental license plates in Washington state include:

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

Gallery Credit: Sophia Crisafulli

More From 1460 ESPN