Ahh, New Jersey.

The fresh air (once you're far away from the Turnpike), the greenery, that nostalgic salty air once you start getting within a reasonable distance to the shore. There are so many beautiful things about this state, and so many ways to represent our home for the rest of the country to see when we're driving on their roads.

That's why it's astonishing to me that we are OK with our license plate looking like a white canvas soaked in urine overnight.


Of course, there are options to personalize your urine canvas ... I mean license plate.

You can choose to represent one of a multitude of special interests.

Options include:

Organ Donor

Law Enforcement Memorial

Animal Friendly



Deborah Heart & Lung

Liberty State Park

Treasure our trees+


United We Stand

Discover NJ History

Baymen's Heritage

Conquer Cancer

USS New Jersey Battleship

Olympic Spirit

Shore to Please

and Conserve Wildlife

You could also customize your plates to represent your favorite professional sports team.

Despite all these wonderful options, they are still subject to a rotten yellow backdrop.

The only other option you see on the roads are the outdated plates from pre-1992. Those solid blue plates that you use to identify whether or not the driver in front of you is over 100 years old. Very plain and boring.


1992 was a long time ago. People that were born that year are turning 30 in 2022. That means most people 30 and younger have never lived in New Jersey without having to make your car wear a hideous license plate, on the front AND back, no less.

With our various art scenes around the state and plethora of inspiration to choose from as far as design is concerned (our music history, our agriculture, our wildlife, etc.), I don't think it's too much to ask for the governor to commission a search for a new design.

You mean to tell me we're stuck with a fading and weird off-yellow, but Wyoming gets this?

Wyoming Department of Transportation
Wyoming Department of Transportation

We can do better, New Jersey. I am ready to hear all of your ideas. Even if you don't find the plate as ugly as I and many others do, 30 years is a long time. It's time for a change.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.

Questions, corrections, or comments? Send Joe Votruba an email. Follow Joe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

New Jersey's license plate designs through the years

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