They started going to an all number sequence starting with 700 000. The reason was, they wanted to stop re-issuing plates. I know part of the reason. One time I get a summons to appear in municipal court on parking charges.
I owned at the time a white Ford LTD, the car that got the ticket was a black Audi. Charge dismissed.
So the state moves to sequential registration. Withing about 1.5 years though they’d exhausted all number (999-999) and today I saw the solution. I saw the plate ABK-006. I imagine ABK-007 will be next until in a little less than 1,000 new plates it’ll be ABL-001
Of course it gets interesting because once they run into six alpha characters they’ll have to skip the ones that are assigned as vanity plates. I once had my Vax username (Username was comprised of your first name+first and last letters of your last name) so I had TONYPO on my plates.
But it does give RI a lot more of a domain for possible plate identifiers. Under the old system it was AA-NNN so you could have a optimal 676,000 plates but then take out the offensive ones like I-812 and OU-812 and you see it’s somewhat less.
The new system gives an optimal 2,176,782,336 or about a factor of 3,220 bigger than the old registration pool. Again, filter out the nasties and the existing strings and you still have a couple billion possibilities.
And when you exhaust that pool, add a character to the string length and then you get over 78 billion possible combinations.
But RI does this strange thing with plates and has type ID’s assigned to them. A regular passenger plate is a type 1, while amateur radio callsigns are a type 18.
I wonder if the local parking gestapo knows about that? I recall years ago a buddy of mine KA1RCI. He had a little Ford Ranger. One day I take a ride with him and I notice the glove compartment is bulging with parking tickets.
Now this is back in the day when the cops issued the tickets, before the whole system was privatized, something I vehemently oppose btw.
Thing was the stupid cop or meter maid kept writing KA1RCI and KAIRCI and the plate type as 01.
So now you had one character morphed and the wrong type. They never found him.