Iowa DOT Vehicle Services Manager, Daniel Yeh says sales of the blackout plates have exceed all expectations. “Through October 15th of this year we have issued more than 46,000 blackout plates in Iowa — and have raised about one-point-nine-seven million (dollars) through that plate for the road use tax fund,” Yeh says.
That puts the blackout plate ahead of the black and gold plates that represent the University of Iowa. “Previously the top plate — at least in circulation out there — was the University of Iowa Hawkeye plate at just over 30,000. So the blackout plate has surpassed that — so it is now the number one specialty plate for Iowa,” according to Yeh.
The blackout plates were first sold a custom ordered personalized plates on July first of this year. The demand was so great that the DOT began selling non-personalized versions the day after Labor Day, and Yeh says sales seemed to pick up.
“Yes, the numbers did seem go up when the non-personalize plates were offered directly at the county offices,” Yeh says. “In fact, right now about 70 percent of the plates are non-personalized, compared to 30 percent personalized.”
He is not sure if the demand to go back to black for license plates has peaked. “I think time will still tell whether we’ve hit the peak. Whether there is still excitement over this. Sometimes people buy new vehicles at the end of the year. Maybe they’ll put it on their cars then — so we’ll wait and see,” Yeh says.
The idea for the plate came from lawmakers after they noticed people buying Dordt College specialty plates that were black with white letters. People would then put license plate covers on them that blocked out the Dordt name. Yeh says it’s just something that has caught on.
“People like they way they look. They think it’s kind of a cool look. Certainly on some cars that are solid colors, black, silver white, people like it on there,” he says. ” The demand was a bit unexpected, but I am happy to say we are doing about as well as we can as far as production. Our Iowa DOT staff are processing applications, Iowa Prison Industries is manufacturing, and we’ve got the materials that we need. And then the county treasurers are doing a great job getting them out to customers.”
Yeh says 95 percent of cars and trucks still carry the standard issue non-personalized plate.
Previous stories on the Blackout license plates: