Lists

Most Popular Colorado Special License Plates and Ones That Nearly Vanished

The Colorado specialty license plate honoring the Girl Scouts is in danger of extinction.
The Colorado specialty license plate honoring the Girl Scouts is in danger of extinction. Colorado Department of Revenue
More than 325,000 people have so-called special Colorado license plates honoring various groups in the state, with the numbers of the ten most popular ranging from a few thousand to nearly 100,000. Because of rules set up by the Colorado Department of Revenue, fourteen less popular special plates seemed likely to be eliminated either this year or next year because not enough people had requested them. But all of them will survive thanks to a last-minute reprieve.

The reason the state balked is likely due to a fear that the move would anger some of the powerful organizations represented by plates on the chopping block, including three major sports franchises in Denver and the Girl Scouts.

As recently noted by 9News, the State of Colorado set a standard of 3,000 registrations per year to determine whether specific plates would continue to be issued. If a plate fell short in one year, officials typically sent the group behind them a letter informing them that they had one year to boost the total above the minimum standard. Should registrations fall short for a second year, the plate would be retired.

But that changed last Friday, June 30, one day before the July 1 deadline, when state officials determined that the word "may" in front of the word "retire" in statutory language gave them the option of bidding the plates farewell or not. And they chose "not."


Below, see the ten most popular Colorado special license plates, whose registrations through late February (the most complete data available) range from just over 6,000 to 96,000-plus. Then, on page two of this post, see the special Colorado plates that were teetering on the brink. Note that college license plates survive if they attract just 500 registrations — but one school was nowhere close to that number.

Ten most popular Colorado specialty license plates 2017:

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 1: Columbine

Number of registered plates: 96,144


COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 2: Pioneer

Number of registered plates: 36,372

click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 3: Breast Cancer (Modified)

Number of registered plates: 23,405

click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 4: Firefighter

Number of registered plates: 19,538

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 5: Broncos Charities

Number of registered plates: 17,985

click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 6: Ski Country USA

Number of registered plates: 17,477

click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 7: Adopt a Shelter Pet

Number of registered plates: 15,664

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 8: Air Force Commemorative

Number of registered plates: 11,728

COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 9: Support the Troops

Number of registered plates: 9,488

click to enlarge COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Colorado Department of Revenue
Number 10: Donate Life

Number of registered plates: 6,531

Continue to see the fourteen Colorado specialty license plates that were on the cusp of disappearing before they received a last-minute reprieve.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts