Jan 31, 2024 - News

Utah's hottest license plate is old-school black

A black and white license plate that says "Utah" and "NAANNN" underneath.

Courtesy: Utah State Tax Commmission

Utahns are flocking to obtain the highly coveted black and white specialty license plates.

The big picture: The Utah Division of Motor Vehicles has issued more than 86,000 of the specialty plates since they first became available last spring — a sign of their fanfare.

  • Demand peaked last October, when about 18,000 plates were issued, according to figures provided from the Utah State Tax Commission.
  • Currently, just under 6,000 plates are back-ordered.

What they're saying: "They just kind of pop, and so it looks really good," Utah State Tax Commission chair John Valentine told Axios Salt Lake City about the retro-looking plates' popularity.

Catch up quick: The plates' availability is a result of a 2018 state law co-sponsored by state Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R-South Jordan).

Yes, but: Utah's license plate manufacturer was unable to produce them because the law required the black portion to be reflective and that type of paint did not exist, Fillmore explained on the Senate floor last year.

  • Fillmore ran another bill in 2023 that didn't require the black portion to be reflective, just the white letters.

The intrigue: Under the law, proceeds from the plates go toward the Utah State Historical Society. Valentine said the organization has received over $1.7 million in revenue from the plates.

Details: The plates are made by inmates at the Utah State Prison under an inmate work program.

Flashback: The plates were available in the 1960s, but updated to different colors, designs and slogans that better represented the Beehive State, Valentine said.

Be smart: Utahns can visit the state Division of Motor Vehicles' website to apply for the black and white plate.

  • An initial $25 fee is required to obtain the custom design, along with an annual contribution of $25.
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