Arizona Drivers Love Vanity License Plates

Sep 19, 2009

Vanity license plates are almost a way of life in Arizona. If it seems like you see vanity plates all the time, it is because just over 5% of Arizona drivers have a custom or vanity plate. We rank 12th in the nation for vanity plates according to a study conducted by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

Arizona Highways License PlateEarlier this year, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) released a new custom license plate design in partnership with Arizona Highways Magazine. The new plate features a crop of saguaro cacti silhouetted against a colorful sunset of purple, orange, and yellow.

The plate's vibrant colors and high-contrast white letters are quite different from the standard Arizona design, which made it a perfect fit for me! I have now joined the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of Arizona drivers with a vanity license plate.

Did you know that Arizona offers over 40 different styles of license plates to drivers? It's true! These plates cover a range of subjects including human and animal rights, major universities, major-league sports, military service, and Native American heritage. Even amateur radio operators are eligible to receive a special plate!

Of course, many of these special plates carry additional fees that are given to the organizations represented. The Arizona Highways plate fee includes a $17 donation to the magazine. Many of the other special plates including universities, police, firefighters, and animal/human rights causes also receive donations from vanity plates.

The Motor Vehicle Department of Arizona publishes some very interesting statistics on license plates in Arizona. Over 6.5 million plates are currently active, with 3.7 million of those belonging to standard passenger vehicles. Over 750,000 trailers are also registered, along with 260,000 off-road vehicles. The rest are a varied mix of some very unique vehicles and circumstances.

For example, did you know that over 6,200 residents have chosen Arizona Diamondbacks plates versus just 500 for Phoenix Suns plates? Did you know that there are more Prisoner of War (POW) plates issued than there are Hearing Impaired plates? This may seem like a lot of useless information, but I think it offers a fascinating cross-sectional look into the lives of Arizona drivers.

For a complete history of Arizona license plate designs, please visit! There you can learn about the many innovations Arizona has in license plates, such as being the only state to ever make license plates from copper and the history of license plate milestones. All of Arizona's license plates are manufactured by inmates at the State Prison in Florence, AZ.

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