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Vehicle Registration Plate

A vehicle registration plate, usually called license plate or number plate (often referred to simply as a plate, or colloquially tag) is a small metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle for official identification purposes.

A vehicle registration plate, usually called license plate or number plate (often referred to simply as a plate, or colloquially tag) is a small metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle for official identification purposes. On many vehicles, they appear in pairs, with one attached to the front and another attached to the rear, although certain jurisdictions and vehicle types only require one plate—usually the rear. The plate has a serial number on it which is the same on all plates attached to the vehicle, the purpose of which is to identify the vehicle uniquely from others on roads, usually within the same country. In certain jurisdictions, having a current license plate can be evidence of a vehicle being licensed for use on a public highway, or of a tax having been paid in connection with the vehicle.

In some jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom where they are known as number plates, one set of plates usually remains with a vehicle following its initial sale as the information displayed on the plates is static throughout the vehicle's life. In others, such as some U.S. states where they are known as license plates, they are required to be changed periodically (though, for cost-saving purposes, the recent tendency has been to simply replace a small decal on the plate's surface). Additionally, some jurisdictions follow a "plate to owner" policy, meaning that when a vehicle is sold, the seller removes the current plate(s) from the vehicle and the buyer must either obtain new plates from his jurisdiction of residence, or attach plates that he already holds from that jurisdiction, as well as formally registering the vehicle, under his name and the plate number, with the appropriate authorities. If the person who sold the car then purchases a new car, he can apply to have the old plates put onto this car. Otherwise, depending on the local laws involved, he must turn them in, destroy them, or simply keep them if he wishes.

Plates usually are either directly fixed to a vehicle or located in a plate frame which is itself fixed to the vehicle. Sometimes the plate frames contain advertisements inserted by the vehicle service center or the dealership from which the vehicle was purchased. Vehicle owners can also purchase customized and specialty frames to replace the original frames. In some U.S. states license plate frames are illegal. Usually plates are designed to conform to certain standards of clarity with regards to being read by the human eye in day or at night, or by electronic equipment. Some drivers purchase clear, smoke-colored or tinted covers that go over the license plate, usually to prevent such electronic equipment from scanning the license plate number. Although perhaps useful to those avoiding detection from police, these covers are not legal in the entire U.S. and are looked down upon in other countries.

In most countries, license plates are issued by an agency of the national government, except in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Pakistan, and the United States, where they are issued by provincial, territorial, or state governments.

US and Canada Licence Plates
In the US and Canada, license plates are issued by each state or provincial government. In the U.S., many Native American tribal governments issue plates for their members, while some states provide special issues for tribal members. The federal government issues plates only for its own vehicle fleet and for vehicles owned by foreign diplomats. Within each jurisdiction, there may also special plates for groups such as firefighters or military veterans, and for state- or province-owned vehicles.

The appearance of plates is frequently chosen to contain symbols, colors, or slogans associated with the issuing jurisdiction. For example, new plates issued in Washington, D.C. include the phrase "Taxation without representation" to highlight D.C.'s lack of a voting representative in the United States Congress. More recently, some states have also started to put a web address pertaining to the state, whether it would be with the state itself (such as Indiana with or in Pennsylvania's case with, that state's tourism site.

Most states use plates onto which the letters and numbers are embossed so that they are slightly raised above its surface. A very few do not, such as Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee, which have moved to entirely digitally produced flat license plates. Many US states now use a color thermal transfer production process that produces a flat license plate for short-run plates such as personalized and special interest plates.

When someone moves from one state or province to another, they are normally required to obtain new license plates issued by the new place of residence, even if they have plates issued by the previous state or province. Some US states will even require a person to obtain new plates if a person accepts employment in that state, unless he can show that he returns to another state to live on a regular basis. The most prominent exceptions to this policy are active duty military servicemembers, who legally do not change residence when they move to a new posting; Federal law specifically allows them to choose to either retain the state vehicle registration of their original residence or change registration to their state of assignment.

In many states, license plates are made by prison inmates [1]. In 1956, all North American passenger vehicle licence plates, except for French controlled St. Pierre and Miquelon, were standardized at a size of 6 in x 12 in (152.40 mm x 304.80 mm) or , although a smaller size is used for certain vehicle classes, such as motorcycles.

Opportunity cost

Opportunity cost is a term used in economics to mean the cost of something in terms of an opportunity forgone (and the benefits that could be received from that opportunity), or the most valuable forgone alternative. For example, if a city decides to build a hospital on vacant land that it owns, the opportunity cost is some other thing that might have been done with the land and construction funds instead. In building the hospital, the city has forgone the opportunity to build a sporting center on that land, or a parking lot, or the ability to sell the land to reduce the city's debt, and so on.

Opportunity cost need not be assessed in monetary terms, but rather can be assessed in terms of anything that is of value to the person or persons doing the assessing. The consideration of opportunity costs is one of the key differences between the concepts of economic cost and accounting cost. Assessing opportunity costs is fundamental to assessing the true cost of any course of action. In the case where there is no explicit accounting or monetary cost (price) attached to a course of action, ignoring opportunity costs may produce the illusion that its benefits cost nothing at all. The unseen opportunity costs then become the hidden costs of that course of action.

Note that opportunity cost is not the sum of the available alternatives, but rather of benefit of the best alternative of them. The opportunity cost of the city's decision to build the hospital on its vacant land is the loss of the land for a sporting center, or the inability to use the land for a parking lot, or the money that could have been made from selling the land, or the loss of any of the various other possible uses -- but not all of these in aggregate, because the land cannot be used for more than one of these purposes.

However, some opportunities may be difficult to compare. Opportunity cost has been seen as the foundation of the marginal theory of value.

In some cases it may be possible to have more of everything by making different choices; for instance, when an economy is within its production possibility frontier. In microeconomic models this is unusual, because individuals are assumed to maximise utility, but it is a feature of Keynesian macroeconomics. In these circumstances opportunity cost is a less useful concept.

All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

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