Most popular license is columbine

Colorado motorists don’t suffer from a shortage of specialty license plates they can put on their cars or trucks.

In fact, they have 69 of them.

While the Colorado Legislature routinely considers new ones each year, their approval isn’t automatic.

Oftentimes, that’s because lawmakers think there are too many already.

“We need to review the number of plates we have as it is,” said Rep. Kathleen Curry, an unaffiliated lawmaker from Gunnison. “I’d like to hear from the Colorado State Patrol about whether they’re having trouble identifying some of them.”

About two-thirds of the more than 5 million registered vehicles in the state use the traditional Colorado tags that feature white mountains with a green backdrop, according to Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles records.

The rest are some variation of that, including specialty plates.

The largest category of those focus on the armed services, including ones to honor the most prestigious medals and fallen military personnel who served in its four branches.

There are plates for major colleges, too, from Mesa State College in Grand Junction to Colorado State University-Pueblo to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Motorists can get plates that Support the Troops, Support Education or Support the Horse.

Animal lovers can get Raptor Education or Greyhound Lovers plates, and recreational enthusiasts can display Ski Country USA or Share the Road tags.

Specialty plates come at an additional cost. In addition to the normal fees motorists pay, drivers who get specialty plates pay an extra one-time fee of $50.

For those tags designed to raise money for special causes, it can be another $30 on top of that.

Half of that $50 fee goes to road and bridge improvements; the other half goes to fund the DMV.

Mark Couch, spokesman for the Department of Revenue, which oversees the DMV, said the state doesn’t track how much money it’s made from all the specialty plates over the years.

The most popular specialty plate by far is the columbine, which was created after the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton. Nearly 119,000 motorists have that one.

The least popular one that is available to anyone is the Donate Life plate, but that may be because it was created just last year to promote organ and tissue donations. Only 62 cars have it.

About two dozen of the plates are used to raise money for special causes, such as the Broncos Charities or American Indian Scholars.

There are even specialty plates for the Colorado House and Senate, but drivers have to get elected to the Legislature to qualify for them.

For information about the plates, log on to


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