DMV ready to roll out 7-character state plates

DOT: 6-character plate combos to run out in April

Transportation officials expect the state’s inventory of six-character license plates to run out this month, and the agency is ready to begin issuing seven-character plates.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles said Thursday that the new license plates with seven characters will be issued beginning in mid-April. Local DMVs and third-party vendors will continue to issue six-character plates until their inventory is exhausted.

The six-character plates were first issued in 1986 and included about 20 million combinations, the DMV said. The new plates will have 100 million combinations.

For about 14 years, the plates had three letters, a hyphen and three numbers. In 2000, the DMV reversed the order so numbers came first.

The new configuration will return three letters to the beginning, followed by four numbers, such as “ABC-1234.”

Officials said the plate artwork will stay the same.

The DMV doesn’t use the letters I, O or Q because they resemble numbers, according to the release.