Okay…no, I’m not months behind by sharing the “newest SC plate” but last week’s subcommittee hearing made me want to do some more research to get the answer to this question: How many license plates does our state have?

Seems each summer when we go to the Cape San Blas, Fla (note: we do go to SC beaches too) my family notices Space Shuttle Plates, Panther Plates, Manatee Plates, and all sorts of other Florida tags. I couldn’t help but comment on how many tags they had down there.

Well, I have spoken too soon. Read on for the answer on how many plates we have. For a hint, you can take a peek here.


SCDMV license plate facts

The license plates originally issued by the division were a far cry from today’s standard. They were not even a consistent size from year to year until the mid 1930’s. The largest license plate was issued in 1926 and measured 5 by 16¾ inches. Since 1956, all license plates have been produced at the standard size 6 by 12 inches. During the early production of the license plates, the expiration date was actually imprinted into the plate. It has only been within the past 30 years that expiration stickers have been used on the license plates. The appearance of the plates has also changed quite a bit over the past 88 years. The plates produced in 1916 and 1917 had the county and town in which the vehicle was registered on the plate. In 1926, the division attempted to create a more decorative plate by including a palmetto tree. In the 1930’s, the license plates began to carry slogans such as “The Iodine State” (1932) and “The Iodine Products State” (1933).

The current “Smiling Faces Beautiful Places” license plate, which will be replaced by the winning license plate design, went into circulation in 1998. There are currently 2.7 million plates of this type currently registered in South Carolina. According to a state law that went into effect in 2002, the department is required to issue a new license plate at least every six years. The new license plates will be issued beginning July 1, 2008.


Ok….so the answer? Counting the new one above, SC has more than 100 different license plates…and counting! Guess what? Tomorrow in Motor Vehicles Subcommitee we have another plate being proposed.

Efforts to stop this “give-everyone-a-plate program” get thrawted every time. On on side, I can understand everyone having pride in their group and wanting to raise funds for that group (that’s supposedly the reason behind them all). On the other hand, isn’t 100+ different tags a little too much? What if some organization, group who most Sandlappers consider “offensive” want a plate? Do we just give plates to any group that wants?

Apparently so. You’d be surprised how easy it actually is to get your organization a plate.