New York State License Plates… When Retro Means Ugly

I’ve been noticing lately that there’s a bunch of cars on the read with “industrial equipment” yellow license plates. Today I thought I’d look into that and see what the story is.

I remember when New York state switched to the white background license plates (this must have been in the late 1980’s). My boss at the time pointed out that even though some people didn’t like the idea of change, overall most car colors look better with a white license plate against them then with that garish yellow.

Apparently, someone decided to “bring it back” — because nothing looks better than putting something that looks like World War II surplus paint color against a car with a modern paint job. To add injury to the insult, the new plate fee for cars will be $25 instead of $15. Hurray for progress!

Read NY State’s proud press release here.

In the U.S., where each state issues plates, New York State has required plates since 1901. Apparently they’ve changed colors a lot over the years until the 1970’s-1980’s where they fixed on the ugly yellow. Having switched to a classy white plate (like so many other states use) for so many years, there’s nothing to do but change it back so that it’ll be easier for cops down south to spot New Yorkers at a distance and give them├é┬áspeeding tickets. Your tax dollars at work!

Here’s a site with pictures of licences plates in NY from various years, so you can wax nostalgic.

1 thought on “New York State License Plates… When Retro Means Ugly”

  1. Yes these new plate are ugly as sin. Its another way for the State if NY to make money. Yellow does not go with anything and makes every car the new plate is on look terrible.
    NJ has yellow license plates but they are a light yellow with a white overspray and actually look classy. I had them back in the 90s when I lived there.
    When I got my license I had the NJ blue bozo plates that didnt look that bad compared to these new eyesores NY has now. I cant wait for another 10 years to go by to see what NYS DMV has waiting for us. Maybe purple or bright pink? Scumbags.

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