Washington Number Plate Changes

Washington drivers who got new car licenses recently have a little more on their plates: an additional numeral.

The state’s new seven-character plates are showing up more frequently in Southwest Washington as people move into the state, license newly purchased vehicles or get replacements for old six-character plates.

The new plates for passenger cars and SUVs follow the “ABC1234” format.

“We went to a seven-character plate for passenger vehicles at the beginning of the year,” Brad Benfield, a spokesman for the Washington State Department of Licensing, said from Olympia. “It’s because we ran out of six-character configurations. We have been using those for a long time.”

Since adopting the format in 1968, the state actually went through the available combinations of letters and numbers twice.