Specialty license plates pay tribute to Hawaii’s national parks

Rendering: National Park Service


You may start to see something different on our roads.

For the first time, Hawaii has two new specialty license plates for vehicles.

One is of a nene that represents Haleakala National Park on Maui; the other shows an erupting volcano on Hawaii island.

The plates were released Monday and cost $35.50. For every plate, $18 will go directly to the two parks.

Parks officials say it’s a great way to show island pride.

“This license plate is a way for people to show off their love for Hawaii parks. Visitors can’t get a specialty license plate like they can a T-shirt or a postcard in one of our stores, so the license plates are so great,” said Jessica Ferracane, of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Drivers in Hilo are already swapping out their plates at Satellite City Hall, but everyone else will have to wait.

To get a specialty license plate, you have go down to a Satellite City Hall and order one, unlike ordering a vanity plate, which you can do online.

About a week later, you’ll get your new plate in the mail.

A city spokesman said people should turn in their old license plates back to the Satellite City Hall or dispose of them.

We asked if people would swap their rainbow design for a nene or volcano.

“I think they are beautiful and it’s nice to have a choice,” said North Shore resident Linne Holmberg. “Personally, I’d probably pick the nene goose because I’m a pilot and birds are pilots.”

“Having something that is eye-catching, I think that is the perfect idea to have that in back of a car and I would want that,” said Liliha resident Lesi Sio.

We’ve had the iconic rainbow design on our license plates for decades, so we wanted to know if the City is running out of letters and if that’s the case, will the city have to change the rainbow design?

A city spokesman said there are no plans to change the rainbow on our plates, and the Department of Customer Services does not anticipate running out of letters soon.

Depending on car sales and new plate requests, the city goes through a letter roughly between two week to a month.

People who drive electric vehicles won’t be able to have a specialty license plate because e-vehicles use a different designation plate.

Click here for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How much do the plates cost?
A: $35.50, and $18 goes to support the parks

Q: Can I get personalized license plates in the specialty design?
A: The plates are pre-numbered, so customizing isn’t an option

Q: I have two vehicles. Can I get one of each?
A: Yes. The Hilo DMV now has the Haleakala plates (but they are running low on the Hawaii Volcanoes plate). Call your local DMV to double-check availability.

Q: Can I get the specialty plate for my electric vehicle?
A: You can exchange your EV plates for the specialty plates, however, it does not come with the EV designation so you’d have to forego the benefits of having an EV plate.

Q: Can I pay with a credit card?
A: No. The DMV accepts cash or check only.

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