Want an Emoji on Your License Plate? Move to Vermont!

Vermont emoji tag
If the new bill passes, motorists will be allowed to include one emoji on their tag, in addition to the standard letter and number combination. ©HowStuffWorks

The state of Vermont could soon be giving its license plates an upgrade. The plates, which currently have white lettering on a leafy green background, are some of the most basic you'll find anywhere in the United States.

Even the special interest plates, which signify, for example, the motorist's fondness for ham radios or affiliation with the National Ski Patrol, feature the relevant logo on the side of the plate like an afterthought. And the list of special interests motorists can choose from is shorter than in many other states. They can't even buy a plate to boast about their favorite national sports team because Vermont doesn't have any. In other words, when it comes to license plates, the Green Mountain State is traditionally all business.


Until now, that is. Vermont has a new bill that would let motorists add one of six yet-to-be-determined emojis to new license plates. The bill was introduced by State Representative Rebecca White and passed on to the state's Committee on Transportation in late January 2020.

The emoji would be in addition to the standard letter and number combination either assigned by the state or chosen by the motorist, rather than replacing any of those characters. That means the letter-number combo will remain the "official" plate number; in other words, it's unlikely Vermont's state troopers will be calling out "eggplant" or "sunglasses" emojis over the radio, in much the same way they don't identify special interest or other special types of plates. However, that's just speculation; weirder things have happened. (Rep. White's office did not respond to our requests for comment.)

Believe it or not, there's already precedent for what seems like a pretty off-the-wall idea. Queensland, Australia, has had emoji license plates since 2019. Five emojis are available for plates, and they're combined with three letters and two numbers.

In Queensland, motorists also get to choose text and background colors, and from a variety of background designs, including scenic landscapes and cartoon character logos. Certain plates can also be inscribed with custom captions, too. Motorists can even buy duplicate sets of plates with different designs and swap them out on a whim.

If the Vermont bill passes, it would be the first state in the U.S. to offer such an option, though it's a little too early to let imaginations run truly wild. Pricing and other details have yet to be worked out. As for whether we'll eventually see a plethora of emoji license plates across the country is anybody's guess, but we certainly hope that other states catch on — and give us a case of the giggles. 😂