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Instant License Plate Lookup

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The following is for informational purposes only

How Much Do License Plates Cost?

In every state of the United States, vehicles must be legally registered and display a valid license plate. The license plate incurs a fee that varies depending on the state of residents. If one requests a specialty plate, it may incur a higher cost.

These are also sourced from the local Department of Motor Vehicles. This agency operates at the state level and handles driver licensing as well as vehicle registrations. License plates form part of the registration when an individual or entity buys a vehicle. The other reason one would need a license plate is following a move to another state or if they have been stolen.

General License Plate Fees and How To Pay

General or standard-issue license plates are the basic option the Department of Motor Vehicles offers. They have a white background with black letters and do not illustrate any special characters or white background with black lettering. The user has to order general license plates at the local DMV office, in person, or online.

Once the form has been submitted, the owner will be asked to pay the fee, depending on the residence state. Most states have a fixed license plate fee which ranges from $8 to $225. The variable cost states include Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Utah. Nebraska has the lowest fixed plate license fee at $3.3 per plate, while South Dakota and Florida offer the most expensive rates at $28.

If one chooses to order online or in person, they can pay with a credit or debit card. Should it be via mail, the applicant has to enclose a money order or check to the local DMV office. After paying for the plate, it will be mailed to the applicant's residence within four to six weeks.

Personalized License Fees

The registrant must pay a one-time standardized fee for personalized license plates according to the vehicle type. If it is approved, an annual fee is also paid when one renews their registration. That is to ensure the owner maintains the rights to the plate characters and the use of the plates. If the personalized license plate is not used for more than a year following the expiry date, the rights to the plate will be void. Fees may vary depending on the state, though. For example, the upfront cost in New York is $60, while the annual fee is $31.25.

Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Plates

This plate type can be used on any public road or highway except in places closed to off-highway vehicles. The initial plate can be purchased following the registration and the off-highway vehicle titling. Off-highway vehicle decals are priced at $25 every year.

Digital License Plate Fees

Digital license plates are vehicle-mounted devices that transmit trackable signals. It can interface with another remote vehicle monitoring system or the car's computer system. The cost of these plates depends on the provider, while some incur a periodic fee. For example, in Arizona, Reviver is the only seller, and the plates it produces are on a one-time fee of $500. In Michigan, though, the digital license plates that are hard-wired cost $24.95 monthly.

Special Interest License Plate Fee

It is possible to have license plates made for historical significance, service, achievements, and job-based. Categories for specialty licenses include occupational, legislative, special recognition, and military purpose. The average cost for special license plates is $50 though it could vary depending on the state of residence and the special license plate category.

Temporary License Plate Fees

Temporary license plates are there to show that a person owns the vehicle that they have applied for registration though it is yet to be provided. A valid tag is required to drive vehicles that do not have license plates. The price for these tags, though, depends on the state. Some may utilize a flat rate, while others evaluate according to weight or car value. However, prices vary from $3 to $25.

License Plate Fee By State

StateVehicle registration feesLicense plate fees
Alabama$50 annual fee plus $15–$23$23 standard and $1.25 for transfer
Alaska$100$5 for transfer
Arizona$40$12 for transfer
Arkansas$17 to $30$1 for transfer
ColoradoDepends on the weight of the car$25
Delaware$40Not applicable
District of Columbia$72 to $155$12 for transfer
Florida$225$28, $7.35 for transfer
Georgia$20Not applicable
Hawaii$12 minimum$5
Idaho$45 to $69Not applicable
Illinois$151Not applicable
Iowa1 percent of listed price and $0.40 per 100 poundsNot applicable
Kansas$39 to $49Not applicable
Kentucky$21Not applicable
Louisiana$20 to $82$3 for transfer
Maine$35Not applicable
Maryland$135 to $187$10 for transfer
Massachusetts$60 per two years$25 for transfer
MichiganDepends on vehicle value$5
Minnesota$35 and above$8
Mississippi$14 for first time registrationNot applicable
Missouri$18.75Not applicable
Montana$30.57 to $225.24$10.30
Nebraska$15$3.30 a plate
New Hampshire$31.20$8
New Jersey$35.50 to $84$6
New Mexico$27 to $62Not applicable
New York$26 to $140$25
North Carolina$38.75$21.50
North Dakota$49 to $274$5 for transfer
Ohio$31$6 for transfer
Oklahoma$96Not applicable
Oregon$122 to $152$24.50
Pennsylvania$39Not applicable
Rhode Island$30$8
South Carolina$40Not applicable
South Dakota$36 to $144$5 for transfer
Tennessee$26.50Not applicable
Texas$51.75Not applicable
Utah$44Not applicable
Vermont$76Not applicable
Virginia$30.75Not applicable
Washington$68.25 to $115.25$10
Washington D.C$72 to $155$12 for transfer
West Virginia$51.50$10 for replacement
Wyoming$30Not applicable

The Costs of License Plates Varies By Location and Need

License plates are a necessary part of vehicle registration. Their pricing, though, depends on the state. Most states have a fixed cost structure for license plates, especially if they are standard. Others rely on the vehicle's weight, value, or even the model year. These fees range from $3 to $28. License plate fees are different depending on the type. There are several license types, such as special interest, personalized, digital, and off-highway plates. The fees for each also vary accordingly.

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