Commercial: California does not have a "truck" class plate, but rather a "commercial" plate. Therefore, commercial plates can be found frequently on passenger vehicles used for commercial purposes, such as for taxis. On the other hand, trucks with covered beds, commonly known as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) get passenger plates, even though the vehicles are manufactured on a truck chassis (such as the Chevrolet Tahoe or the Ford Explorer). Pick-ups with open cargo beds are issued commercial plates.
1993 embossed "CALIFORNIA" base: The following design replaced the setting sun graphic design and has the state name embossed. The plate numbers for this design ran from "?" to "5A99999".
1994 script "California" "0A00000" format base: The following design featured a screened script "California" and began with plate number "5B00000". The design ended at the end of 1997, but the approximately plate number is unknown. The state then introduced the sesquicentennial in the beginning of 1998, but resumed the non-slogan design towards the end of 2000 and is the current design. There are three variations of the "California" script size:
Type I: small ("5B00000" through "?")
Flat edge: Starting sometime in the mid-2000s, one (or more) of the machines at the prison license plate manufacturing plant began producing a different shaped edge than the other machines. This is not a design change, but rather a quirk of (probably) one machine. While most California plates have a debossed unpainted border around the plate for strengthening, this machine is producing plates with a flat edge.
Sesquicentennial: From 1998 through 2000, California added the caption "SESQUICENTENNIAL - 150 YEARS" to the bottom of the standard plate to honor the states 150th anniversary of statehood (1850-2000):
2009 script "California" "00000A0" format base: When the commercial plate numbers reached "8Z99999" (the "9A00000" series is for truck-tractors), the state flipped the format to "00000A0". The trailing number began at "1" while the letter progressed from "A" to "Z". After "Z", the trailing number then advances to "2".
2012 (blue & red/reflective white) natural vg $6.00 "21018B1" (10590)
2013 (blue & red/reflective white) vg $6.00 "41033C1" (10591)
2011 script "California" "dmv.ca.gov" base: This new style began in 2011 and is identical to the previous "00000A0" type with the exception of the slogan addition. It is believed that the plate numbers started at the beginning of the "xxxxxF1" block as I have personally seen.
This page was last updated 01/20/14