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What Kentucky's Specialty License Plates Say About Kentuckians

Friends of Coal

Kentuckians support their colleges, coal, nature, breast cancer awareness and horses, in that order.

At least that’s what the state’s specialty license plates indicate.

Kentucky offers more than 30 specialty license plates. For some of them — like those designating Masons or the Fraternal Order of Police — drivers have to offer proof that they’re actually members of the organizations being presented.

But most of the license plates are available to anyone who’s willing to pay a surcharge that will be passed on to whatever organization the license plate benefits.

Specialty plates Create bar charts

From 2012-2014, the same five specialty plates have dominated, each attracting more than 20,000 Kentuckians. Three of those — special collegiate license plates, breast cancer awareness and the “Friends of Coal” plate — increased in popularity over that three-year period. But the other two — supporting the Kentucky Horse Council and the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund — lost supporters.

License Plates Create bar charts

Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Chairman Richard Kessler said one of the reasons behind the declining nature license plate sales is competition from other specialty license plates.

Earlier this year, an article in The Courier-Journal reported the $10 surcharge on nature license plates had been redirected from the land conservation fund into the general state budget, and Kessler said that also could have affected sales.