Michigan Plates Could Lose Blue

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The blue and white license plates that have been Michigan's standard since 1982 could be on their way out under a bill in the state House.

The bill would replace the design with a lighter-colored, reflective plate that is like other license plates the state sells for a premium. Police say the reflecting backgrounds make the plates easier to see at night.

There are 5.6 million of the blue license plates in circulation in Michigan.

A plate with a white background and blue letters is considered a likely replacement. That is the same color design used for 47 Michigan commemorative and fundraising plates.

"It would give Michigan a new look," sponsor Rep. Philip LaJoy, R-Canton, told the Detroit Free Press for a story Tuesday.

The state would save money with the change because Michigan could use the same materials on the standard and specialty plates, said Department of State spokeswoman Kelly Chesney.

Prisoners at the Parr Highway Correctional Facility in Adrian make Michigan's license plates. About 100 inmates work at the license-plate factory and make about 2 million a year, The Daily Telegram of Adrian says.

The change also would force drivers with expired or counterfeit blue plates to buy the new plate and register their vehicles.

New plates would be issued without additional charge when drivers renew their annual registration.