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image credits: All plate pics are from TXDOT, eBay, or the author.

graphic passenger plate

New flat personalized plate

Souvenir plate


  • A completely new, fully graphic plate design began being issued in March & April. The new passenger series begins somewhere between J##-DDM & J##-GZM. Truck plates also have the new design, with "TRUCK" screened under the state name.
  • There is also a new design for at least some non-passenger plates. These are similar to the design in use since 1985, except the TEXAS is a much bigger, thicker font. Most dated "01" yearly plates have the design.
  • A small number of Truck plates were apparently issued on the new non-passenger base, before moving to the graphic passenger-style base.


  • Passenger bases reach the P-- series by the end of the year.



  • The Texas Legislature's HB 2971, taking effect 9/1/03, streamlines the license plate laws and introduces many new plate designs to the state.
  • Most plates (except passenger) are now "flat".


  • Souvenir plates introduced
  • November- passenger plates begin reusing the ABC-123 series


  • Seven-digit registrations for Exempt vehicles.


  • Online voting for new 7-digit plate design. The winning design is shown below. Plates will begin issue in 2009; they will be flat-printed.

  • A private company from Australia, "myplates.com", offers a bewildering array of hundreds of design & color combinations on valid Texas license plates. The plates sold for $95 to $795, not including registration fees. Despite the variety, the plates are simplistically designed and, frankly, ugly. The company is out of business within months, after selling only 1296 plates. The company blames the "economic downturn", and not its horrible designs and pricing, for its demise. See more Myplates designs here.


  • July: The first plates of the new design are seen on Texas roads.
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