Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Alabama Car Tags

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting a lot of hits from people who are coming from search engines while hunting for information on “alabama car tags”. What’s up with that? I’m pretty sure that my Car Tag Saga isn’t what they are looking for. If you came here looking for that info, could you just leave a comment here about it? No big deal, I’m just curious about what people are actually hunting for.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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55 Responses to Alabama Car Tags

  1. Candice says:

    Actually, believe it or not, your site is exactly what I was looking for. I remember coming across it by accident a while back (I was hunting for something completely unrelated, so lets just call it fate) and became interested in the story, considering I too, live in Alabama. I noticed that you had a link to a site where one could find out whether or not a personalized car tag had already been taken or not, so now, months later, wanting to get one for my new car and findind NO assistance whatsoever from the DMV (big shock there) here I am again, searching for that link that I remember you having. So yeah, some of us are searching for your site. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bill Stovall says:

      I have a 1965 state of alabama auto tag.ย  it’s in mint condition still in the mailing package.ย  Never installed on my auto.ย  This is the year Alabama made them orange and blue(auburn colors).ย  How much would you give me for it?

  2. danielle says:

    Some woman ran into the back of my car and when me and my mother got out she pushed my car with her truck out into a busy intersection with my baby brother in the back seat. then she tried to run over my mother. i called the police but we have a really sh*ty pd so they can’t do much about it they said. but she has an alabama tag and i’m determined to find her.. :mad::mad:

  3. richard says:

    I have an old ALA tag that is porcelain and does not have a date. I am trying to find out if this was actually a car tag. It has ALA 6055. I would appreciate any help.

    • Deron says:

      In regards to the two folks who posted asking about porcelain Alabama license plates, the most recent posts are correct, in that they were only issued for four years 1912 through 1915 and the color dictates what year the plate is. More information can be found on if you’re interested.

  4. craig says:

    hey dude, I was actually “Google”in around looking for a place where I could check on per. car tags for the crappy state of Bama and stumbled in here. Sounds like you have gotten the Alabama runaround like every other person in this wonderful (not) state. Glad it all kinda worked out 4 u.

  5. Rob says:

    Hey, guess I got here by mistake too. Interesting site. Craig if you think the state of Alabama is so crappy you have my permission and blessing to leave.

  6. Emily says:

    Yours is the # 1 link on Google when I typed in “Alabama car tags”. I am lookning to see if I can find out if a certain personalized tag has already been taken, like an earlier poster. Guess I’ll check out your site while I’m here ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Soar says:

    I was hoping to find out what those first numbers in an Alabama plate mean.

  8. Dolly Jones says:

    Can you tell me what it means when the o-meter on a car title reads exempt? ON a Alabama title

    Thanks Dolly

  9. Material Girl 1 says:

    Yea I was looking for personalized car tag info when I came upon your site. That info is surprisingly difficult to obtain.


  10. Dawn says:

    I was looking for a site to find out if a personlized tag had been taken or not before going down to the local DVM and waiting in line and the tag already be taken and I came across your site.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The website for Alabama’s car tags is

    It’s part of the Department of Revenue. You can look at specialty tags and check on the availability of personalized tags.

    Soar, you may have already found this, but the first numbers on standard passenger tags in Alabama correspond to the counties. Counties 1, 2, and 3 are in order of population (Jefferson, Mobile, Montgomery, respectively), and counties 4-67 are in alphabetical order.

    I hope this helps y’all some.

  12. Nichcola says:

    Found you while trying to find out what other types of car tags we can get in Alabama. (not liking the “Stars Fell on Alabama” thing
    Have a great day.

  13. joe says:

    Hey morons, how hard can it be. Surprise, surprise the URL is and the page it at :

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dougal it appears that your car tag saga site just may be the beginning of an alabama car tag revolution. I found it looking for licence plate frames, go figure.

  15. Anonymous says:

    btw it came up #5 on a yahoo search for “car tags”

  16. Rhonda says:

    I knew Alabama was going to have Nascar license plates “sometimes” in May. I went to my local office and their computers were down!! So I came home to get on mine….now I’m here. Ha Ha

  17. Dawn says:

    I got here just like a lot of others did….looking to see if a personlized plate had been taken before going down to the DMV. Great site!!!

  18. Frosty says:

    You can find or leave information on car tags at our site:

  19. Jack says:

    Your website was indeed listed first in Google when searching for Alabama car tags. I was looking for information about how to drive a car from Alabama to Texas if the seller has to remove the license plates under Act 96-733 (effective January 1, 1998) that requires that license plates are removed by the registrant upon sale or disposal of the vehicle, for possible transfer to a replacement vehicle.

  20. Funky Coldmedina says:

    This site rocks. I just wanted to add something to the list of the insane and perverted. I am trying to find info on the registration in the glove box law. Thanks geeks.

  21. $@@D says:

    found this site just like every body else. was trying to see if my choice of personalized tag was already taken or not. A good portal about a very interesting matter.

  22. Laurant says:

    I was searching for an explanation on the Logo they have on the Alabama tags now, Stars Fell on Alabama…What happened to Heart of Dixie? Does anyone know who designed the new tag and why? It was dissapointing to see the change.

  23. E J Rogers says:

    I want to find out what city each number stands for. I want to be able to identify each city.

  24. Dougal says:

    Laurant: I think that “Stars Fell on Alabama” came from some song. Personally, I think they should have kept the old “Heart of Dixie” motto. But I guess some busybody felt that it was falling out of political correctness or something.

    E J: The number at the beginning of the license number tells which county that the car is registered in. The first three numbers were reserved for the counties which had the largest populations: 1 = Jefferson, 2 = Mobile, and 3 = Montgomery (nevermind the fact that Madison county outgrew Montgomery a long time ago). The rest of the counties, starting at number 4, are ordered alphabetically. There’s a complete list of Alabama county tag numbers at the Alabama DOT site.

  25. Amanda says:

    I was actually looking for specialty tags available in Alabama. Your story definitely makes for good party conversation, but I was quite disturbed by some of the comments left. My mother once told me: if you hate your job, don’t complain about it at work; it just makes you look like an idiot for staying there. Same goes to comment makers such as “craig” and “rob.” Alabama may not be perfect, but neither are any of the other 49 states. If you don’t like it here, don’t try to make the rest of us miserable, LEAVE!

  26. Annie says:

    Just wondering if there’s anyway I can find who a car belongs to if I have the tag number. Are tag numbers a matter of public record?


  27. Mike says:

    I googled Alabama car tags because somebody just died a couple of hundred yards away from me after hitting a power pole and I wanted to see what county they were from in Alabama by looking up the first two numbers.

  28. Megan says:

    Looking for a tag

  29. Anonymous says:

    I got here looking for “Alabama Car Tag Info” and this was the top site on Google. It didn’t look exactly like what I needed, but I was curious, and it turns out it helped a lot.

  30. Ronnie Bell says:

    I was looking for information about getting a tag in Alabama. Seems internet support is rather sparse.
    I lived in Virginia for the past 35 years and can hardly wait to get back to Alaba,a. My taxes on 40 acres and a house are $144.29 per YEAR in Ashford! Taxes on my 1/16th of an acre and 3 bedroom house in Arlington are $6,000 +. For that savings I am more than willing to NOT have electronic tag service. I KNOW I will enjoy living in a state that expects you to take care of YOURSELF! SOOOOOOOOOOO tired of all the government programs to save us from ourselves!

  31. Stephanie says:

    I did a google search on what the first number on the Bama tag represent. I was told by someone that they went by order of population in a county but after reading your site I have discovered that only the first three are by population and the alpha. after that. Great site, great find. Thanks!

  32. MSJ says:

    Hi. Actually, I WAS looking for info on what the Alabama tags logo means. My husband and I have been seeing a lot of visitors from Alabama and we were wondering what “Stars Fell On Alabama” meant. We are in Mississippi.

  33. Stephen Carpenter says:

    Just looking for info on the validity of statments that some vintage tag sellers are using that eludesto Alabama recently approving the use of a vintage auto’s model year tag. Providing it is an original vintage tag suitable for display on the vehicle. Any one have info on this. I can’t find it on the state site.

  34. Wayne says:

    I have known for years how to identify county numbers on Alabama tags. I am trying to find out how to identify county numbers on the new tags that (all that I have seen) start with the letters AM and the rest are numbers

  35. Ann Hollingsworth says:

    I’m another inquisitive Alabama Native wondering where’s a website identifying each of the county numbers on Alabama car tags. We’re all guilty of trying to guess which county a person’s from when we see an out of county tag on the road. Well, my friend, Harold King, googled it while I was being my normal stubborn self trying to look it up on my own and found the website……

    Drive safe and thanks for such an awesome website… This is where all the cool kids go for answers..

    Roll Tide!

    Love in Christ,

    Ann Hollingsworth

  36. David says:

    Effective October 1, 2006, Alabama State Law (Section 40-12-297) offers vintage vehicle owners the opportunity to register and display a tag on the vehicle from its year of manufacture. The tag will satisfy Alabama’s vintage vehicle tag law, which requires a one-time-only fee for registration of the vehicle, and all rules regulating the vehicle’s use on public roads will apply.

    Perhaps, like me, folks are looking for tags for their old cars.

    Here’s the text to the original bill:

    By Senator Preuitt
    RFD Commerce, Transportation, and Utilities
    Rd 1 24-JAN-06

    SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, the owner of antique or historical vehicles which is at least 30 years old may qualify for a vintage vehicle license plate.
    This bill would allow a vintage vehicle owner, in lieu of receiving a vintage vehicle license plate, to register an original Alabama license plate issued for the year model of the vehicle and would provide for a permanent vintage vehicle validation decal to be displayed on the license plate. The bill also establishes procedures for issuance of these registrations.

    A BILL
    AN ACT

    Relating to vintage motor vehicles; to add new Section 40-12-297 to the Code of Alabama 1975, to authorize owners of antique or historical vehicles to secure an optional registration of their vehicle if the owner furnishes an original Alabama license plate issued in the model year of the vehicle and the license plate is legible and otherwise qualifies; to provide for the issuance of a vintage vehicle validation decal to be placed on the license plate indicating that the vehicle is properly registered in this state.


    Section 1. Section 40-12-297 is added to Division 2, Chapter 12 of Title 40 of the Code of Alabama 1975, to read as follows:


    (a) The owner of any vehicle designated as a 1976 year model vehicle or earlier qualified to receive a vintage vehicle license plate, upon application to the county license plate issuing official, in lieu of receiving the vintage vehicle license plate, may request to register an original Alabama license plate, 1976 or previous, including a restored or refurbished Alabama license plate, issued in the model year as designated by the manufacturer of the vehicle, of a type license plate that would have been issued to that category vehicle. Subject to the restrictions herein provided, the license plate issuing official shall issue a permanent vintage vehicle validation decal and attach the decal to an appropriate location on the lower portion of the original Alabama license plate. The issuing official shall also issue a registration receipt to be maintained within the vehicle and presented to law enforcement upon request. The issuing official shall collect the fee authorized under subsection (b) of Section 40-12-290 when issuing a vintage vehicle validation decal and the funds shall be distributed in the same manner as other fees collected for the issuance of vintage vehicle license plates. The issuing official shall be entitled to the issuance fee provided under Section 40-12-271.

    (b) The owner requesting the registration of an original Alabama license plate shall present the license plate to the issuing official for examination, and, upon approval, issuance. In examining the license plate, the issuing official shall check the legibility and condition of the license plate and shall ascertain if the original Alabama license plate would have been properly issued to the category of vehicle for which registration is being currently requested.

    (c) In the event the owner of a vehicle has applied for and is currently displaying a vintage vehicle license plate elects to obtain a registration for an original Alabama license plate as herein provided, the owner shall surrender the vintage vehicle license plate at the time of registration and shall not receive a credit for fees previously paid.

    (d) This division shall otherwise be applicable to registrants electing to register as herein provided, including the ad valorem tax exemption authorized in Section 40-12-293.

    (e) In the event the original Alabama license plate with a vintage vehicle validation decal is lost or stolen, the owner may elect to register another original Alabama license plate to the vehicle through the county license plate issuing official and pay the replacement fee as provided under subsection (b) of Section 40-12-265. If the validation decal only is lost or stolen, a replacement vintage vehicle validation decal may be issued.

    (f) In the event front and rear original Alabama license plates were issued, only one original Alabama license plate shall be authorized for display on the rear of the vehicle.

    (g) In the event that a vehicle owner requests the registration of a license plate number that is identical to a previously issued registration issued under this section, the license plate issuing official shall not approve the requested registration, and, if in the event duplicate registrations are issued, the department shall notify the vehicle owner with the most recent date registration that his or her registration is invalid and void, and the owner shall promptly surrender the vintage vehicle validation decal to the issuing official, and may request a subsequent registration of another original Alabama license plate upon payment of the transfer fee.

    Section 2. This act shall become effective October 1, 2006, following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.


  37. David says:

    Some time ago “Richard” sent a message that’s posted above, wanting information on a porcelain tag “ALA 6055”. If it is an Alabama tag, it’s worth a small fortune. Alabama started issuing its own license tags in 1912. The first issues were cobalt blue with white letters. Porcelain tags were issued through 1917-1918, with colors varying from year to year. They were replaced by tin or metal tags afterward. The rest is history.

    1912 Alabama tags are fetching thousands of dollars each nowadays — subsequent years aren’t quite as valuable.

  38. Mark says:

    I have been enjoying your site and appreciate the help from my fellow Alabamians in reading over some of the other comments. Those of you wanting a list of the counties and their numbers should pay attention during campaign times as some of those guys hand out such cards with the county numbers on them on one side and a map of the state with numbered counties on the map.
    Here’s my delima, I need information on a car title. Find out the owner, clear title,etc. If anyone can help, I would appreciate it.

  39. Rick Austin says:


    I am looking for a “Heart of Dixie” decal to put on my Alabama tag.
    They have reduced the motto on our tags to a small heart and are trying to do away with it completely. By law our tags have to have this on them and, personally, I am proud to be from the “Heart of Dixie”.

  40. Kathy Leigh says:

    I was actually searching for this site and it was the first thing i clicked on while in Google..CONGRATS to me!!

  41. Bitterroot says:

    I was looking for plate designs for a new vehicle registration and the ‘vanity check’ as well. I know from having been there before that it’s an “” state gov site, but when I saw your blog title in Dogpile (third on the listing) I couldn’t resist.

    I too had a saga of sorts… Almost had my tag yanked because of ‘abuse’ – my vanity lettering represents the National Rifle Association, and I had ordered a ‘generic’ custom SCV (Sons of Confederate Veterans) plate – for which they supply a decal “in the mail.” I waited for the decal to arrive. I waited. I waited some more.

    Then I heard Charlton Heston was going to be stumping for gubernatorial candidate Riley at a campaign breakfast. I bought 2 tickets at $100 a pop, just to see “Moses.” My plate had not yet been ‘mounted’ on my truck – it was in the back window, still waiting for the decal and in prisine condition – so I slapped an NRA logo sticker on it and got it autographed by then President of the NRA in one of his last public appearances!

    I um… “lost” that plate (as far as Alamama was concerned, anyway) and ordered a replacement. This time they made sure they got the SCV decal to me right away, but I put THAT one in my glovebox and put another NRA sticker on my plate. (MY BAD!)

    I’m under the impression that the DMV had been getting a LOT of calls about the new “Alabama NRA Tag” – just given the number of people who stopped me on the road to ask about its availability – EVEN A LOCAL POLICE OFFICER! When I sheepishly admitted to him the real nature of my tag, he just smiled and told me that he was an SCV member too, and said “I never saw nothin!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    On my next renewal, I received a letter stating that I had to get another replacement plate – this time with the SCV logo already on it!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  42. Len says:

    Your site ranks highly in Google.
    I was searching to see what kind of specialty tags Alabama has. It’s my home state and I’m planning to move back after nearly 10 years. I live in Fla. and we have countless specialty tags for every cause. I have an adorable Save the Sea Turtles tag but there are at least 5 others I love and would buy in Fla. Unfortunately, Sweet Home Alabama’s are pretty fugly. Sorry, but true. In Fla. you have to presale like 100,000 tags to get a new one approved. I guess Alabamians have too much sense to waste $$$ on specialty tags. Check out cute Fla. tags at

  43. melvin says:

    I have a green porcelian ala license plate #1071 . can you or (david)posted 12/7/06 please tell me the year and aprox. value .thanks

  44. Sydney says:

    LOL! I got here looking for information on transferring personalized car tags to a new car. Your site ranked third on Yahoo and I thought I would try it first before getting lost in the (less than helpful) links on the Alabama site. Thanks to the person who posted the link to site I needed. Oh, and thanks Dougal for the Ping-O-Matic page.

  45. Alabama Anonymous says:

    Actually, I came on this website looking for further info on car tags in Alabama, there seems to be a lack of information on this matter unless you “google” it.

  46. tracy eddy says:

    This is to the guy that had an Alabama tag but did not know much about it,,if you can post what color it is ,,I will be able to tell you lots more about it!

  47. tracy eddy says:

    Melvin,,your green Alabama tag is a 1915 tag. 1912 and 1913 Alabama tags are worth the most,,but yours is still worth a good bit,,

  48. tracy eddy says:

    David,, Alabama porcelain tags were issued in 1912-1915,,1916 was an undated tin tag,,,after that,,there were no more porcelains…

  49. Keith says:

    A lot of people may have stumbled onto your site because there has been a huge push to get University of Alabama License Plates in the State of Georgia, of which we were just successful. I know many people were looking for information bama tags in ga… so I’m not sure if that has caused a spike within the past year or not but that’s how I found your site.

  50. patrick says:

    I searched for “alabama tags county numbers” trying to figure out if alabama still handed out tags with county number designations…

  51. Anonymous says:

    I’m a 4th grade teacher and I was planning on using car tags to teach about the counties in Alabama.

  52. Kamela Spivey says:

    I was trying to find out the town a certain tag was registered in so I could determine the origin of the car. The tag is now expired so invalid; AY75369. Do the letters AY have specific meaning?

  53. Doesn’t look like any Alabama tag I’ve ever seen. If any other states use the county-number prefix system, I’m unaware.

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