Decoding Colorado license plates

DENVER -- If you drive around the Denver area you are bound to get stuck in traffic. Among all of the out-of-state plates you come across, you might see the ol’ green and white and wonder: what do the numbers, letters and colors on Colorado license plates mean?

Search no further, because we have broken the code.

The most common license plates you will see are regular passenger plates. They have three numbers and three letters (separated by a dash) imposed over white mountains. Personalized plates typically don’t have a dash. Motorcycle plates follows the same format.

Recreational trucks will have the letters “RTK” stamped on the left-hand side of the plate. Trailers will have the letters “TRL” stamped.

You have probably seen several cars with red license plates. The color denotes that the vehicle is part of a fleet. The plates will have the “FLT” prefix stamped on the side.

Here are some other common prefixes you might see on Colorado plates:

PRM: Apportioned Permanent Trailer
ATR: Apportioned tractor
ATL: Apportioned trailer
ATK: Apportioned truck
DLR: Dealer
DMO: Demo
FTR: Farm tractor
FTK: Farm truck
GVT: Government
GVW: Gross vehicle weight truck
MFG: Manufacturer
TPR: Transporter

While the majority of the license plates in Colorado fall under the aforementioned categories, the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles offers several other types of plates, like the Columbine “Respect Life” plates.

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