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February 26, 2024

Maine license plates get a new look, showing some old icons

Courtesy / Maine Secretary of State The new design for Maine license plates issued in 2025.

Cars and other motor vehicles registered in Maine will soon begin sporting new license plates, and on Monday morning state officials unveiled the design.

The new plates depict an Eastern white pine tree and the North Star, somewhat similar to the symbols found in Maine's 1901 state flag. The plates will replace the "chickadee" ones that have been standardly issued since 1999.

“The new Pine Tree Plate is a fresh approach to a classic design rooted in Maine history, but the ultimate purpose of license plates is for vehicle identification to ensure public safety on our roads and highways” said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

“Damaged or worn out plates on our roadways increase risks to the general public, and worn-out plates reduce law enforcement’s ability to be effective when handling crimes that could be prevented or solved through the identification of license plates.”

Legislation last year authorizing the new plates also called for another design, identical but without the pine tree and star. Both plates will display the vehicle identification number in navy blue, while "Maine" and "Vacationland" will appear in green.

The new plates will be issued starting in May 2025, as the chickadee plates are phased out. There is no additional cost for the new versions.

For a fee, Maine currently also offers plates in more than two dozen specialty designs, which display particular distinctions and associations approved by the Maine Legislature.

The design of license plates has increasingly become a focus of attention for many states, as they seek to differentiate and market themselves.

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