The way vehicle registration offices conduct business will change beginning Thursday. 

The changes will create a simplified vehicle registration process while saving tax dollars, according to Erath County Tax Assessor-Collector Jennifer Carey.

"A massive overhaul of the vehicle registration fee structure is about to get under way," Carey said. "It's important that residents understand what's happening and why."

Beginning Thursday, the state's more than 1,700 registration fee categories will be reduced to nine weight classification, creating a more equitable, standardized and simpler registration fee system, Carey added.

The changes will impact the amount of money residents pay to register cars, light and heavy-duty trucks, motor homes and trailers.

"Because registration is paid forward, those with registrations that end in August 2011 are already seeing the new fees on renewal notices," Carey said.

But there is good news - some fees are being completely eliminated while some residents will see a reduction in registration costs.

The base registration fee for car and truck owners whose vehicles weigh 6,000 pounds or less will be $50.75. That fee is a $10 increase for owners of older vehicles, but an estimated $8 reduction for new car owners.

All registrants will continue to pay the $1 Department of Public Safety fee for TexasSure, the automated insurance verification program, and there is a $1 automation fee for improvements to the state registration and titling computer system, Carey added.

Fees Texans will no longer pay include the $5 license plate transfer fee that was charged when license plates were removed from a car or truck they had traded or sold and placed on a newly purchased vehicle.

Other changes set to begin Sept. 1:

• The new law standardizes the license replacement fee at $6

• Elimination of fees for classic, cotton, forestry, volunteer firefighter, tow truck and radio operator license plates.

• Trailers - including travel trailers - under 6,000 pounds will all pay a fixed annual fee of $45.

• Truckers and trucking companies with vehicles over 6,000 pounds - and RVs - will no longer have to consider 1,600 weight fee categories and will instead only have seven weight classifications to choose from.

Finally, Carey said other fees, set by commissioners, will vary across the state.

"In Erath County, vehicle registrants pay a $10 road and bridge fee," Carey said.

For more information, visit the motor vehicle registration office at 320 West College Street in Stephenville or call 965-8630.