Massachusetts License PlatesMassachusetts has two bases in use in several formats.
The green on white plate that was issued as a single is still in use in an all numeric six digit style (123-456) and a 3 number/3 letter style from AAA through VZZ.
The Spirit of America plate that has been issued in pairs is still in use in four formats, the latest of which has just been released. The original Spirit plates were in the 3 number/3 letter format from WAA through ZZZ, followed by the 1234 AB format. The next format was the complicated 12A B34 format that is explained below. That format is still being issued for all months except October, keeping in mind that there are no passenger plates issued with November or December expirations.
A new plate configuration started in 2001 for the October month series, and then spread to the other months as needed. The date of first issue for the plates was November 1, 2001. Here is what our collective observations have revealed about the progression: The lowest number in the October month format was 10A A00. As usual for Massachusetts, the last digit corresponds to the month of expiration. Just as 0 (zero) was used in the last position on the October plates, 8 appears in the last position on the August plates. The first plate of the new type for October would have been 10A A00, then 11A A00 and on up to 99A A00, then 10A B00, 11A B00, and on up to 99A B00. After 99A Z00, the next plate would be 10B A00, and the series would continue in the same pattern. The final plate in that sequence would be 99Z Z00, then the next to last number would change from 0 (zero) to 1, so the next series would begin at 10A A10, then 11A A10, and on up to 99A A10, then 10A B10. Upon reaching 99Z Z10, the next plate issued would be 10A A20. There have been at least three distinct discrepancies observed in this issue to date. When the June high was still in the first series, which would have had the plate ending in 06, a mysterious 46 was reported. The 16, 26, and 36 series should have been issued before any 46 plates could appear. No explanation has been given for this large jump. Even worse, when July plates were still in the second series with the 17 suffix, a 97 suffix was reported. With July in the fourth series with the 37 suffix, a 77 suffix appeared. Again, no explanation has been found. Monthly system - as follows (NOV and DEC are not used for passenger)
A new series has been introduced since it appears that October has run through the full series, which would have ended with 99Z Z90. The new format is 123 AA4, but of course, in the case of October the last digit is zero. The letters I, O, Q, and U will not be used in this series. Thanks to Rich Bell for this information.
Eric speculates that the new system for October started at 100 AA0. The progression will likely run as follows: 100 AA0 through 999 AA0, then 100 AB0 through 999 AB0, and so on up to 999 AZ0, then 100 BA0 and up.
Tom Castelli sent in the following update after seeing all numeric 668-953 on a Spirit plate on 2007-04-05: This was on a Spirit plate, stickered to 3/09. This series is on the green plates, usually, and RMV says you cannot replace a green plate with a Spirit having the same number. So we could now be recycling dormant plate numbers.
Jim McCarron reports a similar sighting of 194-MSP on a pair of Spirit plates stickered with an '11 expiration on 2009-08-20.
Tyler Rotondo reports that MAR, APR, and MAY expiration Pass. plates are now showing up with the month flat instead of embossed. Most or all of them with the flat month have the unusual spacing between the numbers and letters.
11 - black on yellow
12 - black on green
13 - black on red
14 - black on blue
15 - black on orange
16 - black on yellow
17 - black on green