New safety-focused law prompts change in license plates

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Plates to now expire when owner sells, transfers vehicle

LAKEWOOD, Friday Dec. 17, 2021 -- A new Colorado law aims to improve safety for first responders and motorists by ensuring drivers have reflective and legible license plates.

On Jan. 1, the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will implement the License Plate Expiration on Change of Ownership Act, which establishes the Centennial State’s first license plate replacement program in over 20 years.

Under the new program, license plates for Class C motor vehicles will expire upon transfer of the owner’s title or interest in the vehicle. However, the owner will retain the priority right to use the same combination of letters or numbers from the expired plates when registering a new vehicle. To do so, the owner must apply for personalized plates. License plates will then be printed and mailed to the vehicle owner like newly issued license plates.  Class C motor vehicles include passenger vehicles, motorhomes and motorcycles.

The license plate reissue program will enhance public safety by ensuring registered vehicles in Colorado have serviceable license plates that are reflective and visible in low-light environments, which will allow first responders to more easily identify license plates. Additionally, all motorists will benefit from the program since license plates are often the only highly reflective element on vehicles, which is critically important for motorists to see a stalled vehicle on the roadside during low-light periods. 

While the new program will make driving in Colorado safer, it will also raise registration costs. For most Coloradans, the additional replacement expense will be $4.73. However, Coloradans who would like to keep the configuration on their current license plate will need to pay a one-time replacement fee ranging between $68.06 and $118.06, depending on the license plate. This is in addition to the normally collected registration fees.

Historical license plates, such as the “green-mountains, white-sky license plate,” are available and will be $118.06. 

For more information about the program including a breakdown of the new fees, visit

The DMV offers a growing selection of online services, with over 40 currently available, including license and ID card renewals, upgrading a permit to a license, vehicle registration renewals, paying a traffic ticket, motor vehicle records, first-time vehicle registration and many more. Coloradans can access the convenient and time-saving features on many internet-connected devices, including smartphones, computers and tablets.

Coloradans in participating counties can also use MV Express Kiosks to access title and registration services at about 50 locations in the state. To find MV Express Kiosk locations and to see if your county participates, visit

 The DMV encourages Coloradans to Save Time, Go Online by using DMV online services. Visit for information, direct links and more about DMV online services. Remember, the next time you need to visit the DMV, use so you can #SkipTheTripCO with DMV online services.