Number of vanity plates shrinking
For the seventh year in a row, the total number of personalized license plates went down in Wisconsin last year.
About 46 of every thousand vehicles on the road had vanity plates in 2008. That's 15 fewer than in 1999.
Wisconsin had about 249,000 personalized plates last year, 40,000 fewer than nine years before.
Philip Thomas of the state Department of Transportation says higher registration fees and a new wheel tax in Milwaukee made folks less enthusiastic about spending an extra $15 for personalized plates.
Thomas also cites a possible drop in interest. He says it's a novelty in the beginning. But as the years go on, many apparently don't think it's worth paying the extra fee each year.
Thomas says it's also possible that many of the good plates are taken. A study two years ago found that Wisconsin had the 11th highest percentage of vehicles with vanity plates.