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Colorado license plates, by the numbers

The most popular license plate on Colorado's roads is not an expired temp tag, but that's a good guess. Do you know the right answer?

DENVER — Colorado's retro black license plate has only been back since January, but it is already the sixth most popular style of license plate statewide.

Here's a look at Colorado license plates, by the numbers, with data obtained by the Colorado Department of Revenue.

There are 213 various license plate styles offered by the state. That includes specialty plates, but also the standard plates for motorcycles, trailers, etc.

There are 6.2 million Colorado license plates on the roads.

Out of those, there are 5,074,814 passenger vehicles with Colorado's classic green plates with white mountains, making it the most popular plate in Colorado.

Credit: State of Colorado

No, temporary plates aren't the most popular, despite what it might look like. There are 319,216 vehicles with temporary plates, making it the second most popular plate in Colorado.

The new black license plate is already on 89,036 vehicles, making it the sixth most popular license plate.

It's just ahead of the Columbine license plate, which is seventh overall and the most popular specialty plate, with 78,671.

Credit: 9NEWS
"This plate was created to recognize the victims and survivors of the tragic bombing and shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999."

Of the sports teams, the Denver Broncos Charities license plate is the most popular with 17,128. That makes it the 17th most popular license plate overall.

Credit: Colorado
Denver Broncos Charities license plate

The second-most popular sports license plate is the Colorado Avalanche, with 5,095, making it the 35th most popular.

The Colorado Rockies are, surprisingly, not in last. With 3,055 license plates, the Rockies are the third-most popular sports team and 49th most-issued plate overall.

There are 1,421 Denver Nuggets license plates, making it the 66th most popular overall.

Credit: Colorado
Colorado sports teams license plates

The University of Colorado is the most popular university plate with 12,684, making it the 21st most popular overall.

Colorado State University's is the second most popular university plate in 31st place, with 5,774.

Credit: Colorado
Colorado school plates

Do sports championships increase popularity?

Denver Nuggets plates on the roads have already increased by 9%, as of July 2023.

In April, when the NBA playoffs began, there were 1,233.

One year ago, there were 1,016. And two years ago, there were just 865.

Let’s look at the Colorado Avalanche for a glimpse at how popular the plates can become. In June 2021, one year before the Stanley Cup, there were 3,480 Avs plates.

In June 2022, when they won the Stanley Cup, there were 3,980.

The next month, it increased to 4,122. Today, there are 5,095.

Top 10 styles of plates in Colorado (August 2023)

  1. Regular plates
  2. Temporary
  3. Red print on white (fleet vehicles)
  4. Collector vehicles
  5. Designer plates
  6. Black
  7. Columbine
  8. Disabled veteran
  9. Wildlife sporting
  10. Blue print on white (for dealerships)

Editor's note: The ranking of most-issued plates we have from the state includes some plates that have been retired.

We also combined the variations of one style of plate for this article. For example, the standard green can be used for a passenger vehicle, a motorcycle, etc . Because they each use the same style, we combined them for ranking.

Lastly, because we opted to update the numbers to account for the combined plates, we decided to also look at the latest numbers, from August 2023. So, you may noticed some numbers  have changed from the time this article was first published.

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