What Does FP Mean on A License Plate?

License plates come in various forms, and you may notice some having unique characters, such as FP. This is the main topic of our discussion, as we seek to answer to what does FP mean on a license plate.

You will notice the letters on vehicles registered in states like Illinois, and they stand for fleet plate. There is plenty to learn about these special plates, which we will cover. Read on to learn more about them.

what does fp mean on a license plate

What Does FP Mean on A License Plate?

Different types of license plates may have different characters that distinguish their purpose. In the case of FP on a license plate, it means a fleet plate or fleet permanent. As the name hints, you will find FP plates on fleets in some states for cars owned by government bodies, companies, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities.

In short, FP plates indicate that a vehicle is not owned by an individual but rather a company and serves a particular purpose, like transporting employees or goods. Appearance-wise, the FP is on the right side of the plate in a vertical orientation, the F on top of the P, and then the other characters follow.

These unique plates serve several purposes, primarily a unique way of identifying fleet vehicles. It makes it easier for authorities like the police and other road users to know the type of vehicle in question.

FP registration tags are convenient in managing your fleet, especially in business, as you can easily keep tabs on the vehicles. The plates can guarantee some benefits for your vehicles, such as access to parking spots and exemption from some rules. Also note that fleet cars have specific regulations, and the specialized plates ensure compliance.

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Fleet Plates in Different States

Fleet registration characters vary depending on the state, and you will mostly find the FP registration in Illinois. States like Oregon have PF plates in the same format as the FP, with letters denoting permanent fleets. In Colorado, the tags have the letters FLT, followed by the other characters.

Indiana fleet plates have ‘FLEET’ directly under the characters, whereas you get a FLEET decal in Georgia. You will be issued a Permanent Fleet Registration (PFR) sticker in California. The sticker will also appear on digital license plates, which are legal in California and a few other states.

Fleet cars in New Mexico have ‘Fleet Permanent’ below the plates’ serial codes. Older fleet cars had FL etched vertically on the registration plate’s left or right side. 

Please note that FP on license plates does not always mean the vehicle is part of a fleet. Case in point: what does FP mean on a license plate in PA? The letters abbreviate Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), a fraternal organization of police.

You will notice that the FP is on the left side of the license plate, in a similar orientation to typical fleet tags. There is an FOP logo to the far left of the plate, with the Fraternity Order of Police etched under the plate’s characters. Arkansas FOP plates have the same design. Tennessee FOP tags have the FP to the right and the logo.

So, what do the fleet plates of these states look like? Pennsylvania specialized plates for company convoys depend on the type of vehicle. For instance, limousines will have the prefix LM and limousine under the characters, while taxi plates have the prefix TX and taxi below the figures. Commercial vehicles in Tennessee use the Tennessee Perm Fleet decal.

Read Also: What Does PM Mean on A License Plate? 

How to Get an FP Registration Plate?

Obtaining a license plate with FP is straightforward and requires you to visit your state’s DMV. Eligibility varies from state to state, and you should meet the requirements to get the fleet plates. For example, Colorado considers ten vehicles a fleet, while California’s PFR program requires you to have more than 50 vehicles, though 25 can get a way through in special situations.

Apply for the special registration plates by providing your details, including the vehicle info, and pay the stated fees. You will wait for some time before the tags are ready.

USA License Plate Designs and Serial Formats

The standard USA license plate measures 6 by 12 inches and comes in numerous designs. The plates sport different colors, slogans, and figures corresponding to the issuing state. Passenger car plates typically have six to seven alphanumeric characters, with vanity plates pushing the limit to eight in some jurisdictions.

Passenger vehicles should display one or two plates on the front and rear; the rules depend on the issuing state. The following are some states that require cars to mount front and rear plates.

  • California
  • Idaho
  • Connecticut
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Oregon
  • Washington

Massachusetts, Nevada, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming require front and rear plates mounted on most vehicles. Below are some that permit only rear plates.

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Arkansas
  • Alaska
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee

As you may notice, rear plates are a must-have in all the states. Trailers usually have one registration tag, even in states where vehicles require two.

fp license plate meaning

How Many Letters Can Be on A License Plate in Different States

As earlier hinted, US license plates have 6-7 characters. Sparsely populated states have license plates with six figures, such as Delaware, where you might find the plate’s characters to be all numbers. Conversely, highly-populated territories, like California, offer license tags with seven characters.

The plates can feature any number, but most states will skip letters like O, I, and Q. The argument is that the letters may resemble some numerals, thus causing confusion. For instance, O and Q resemble 0, while I is closer to 1.

Adequate distinguishing of these letters can be challenging, particularly in poor visibility, like when you have a beat-up license plate light. Nevertheless, states like California incorporate the letters between others.

Texas plates do not feature vowels, a practice that has been around since 1965. The common belief is that this move prevents the use of offensive character combinations.

The different states and territories use different serial formats. Below is a list of some states and their registration plate serial formats.

  • California: 1ABC234
  • New York: ABC-1234
  • Delaware: 123456
  • Oregon: 123 ABC
  • Texas: ABC-1234 (no vowels)
  • Florida: ABC D12
  • Georgia: ABC1234
  • Alabama: 0AB1234, 00AB1234. Single 0 denotes a single number county code, while double 00 denotes a double number county code.
  • Illinois: AB 12345
  • Minnesota: 123-ABC, ABC-123, The format switches after 7 years

The issuing county codes the registration format of some states, like Alabama, Idaho, Hawaii, and Montana. The first letter or number is the county code. West Virginia and Massachusetts’ plates are coded by expiration month.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an FP License Plate?

You must pay some fees when registering your fleet to get the FP license plate. The payable amount varies depending on the issuing state. Vehicular weight and number of cars also determine the fee.

If paying for a permanent fleet license plate in Oregon, you part with an initial fleet registration service charge of $3 or a renewal service fee of $2. As hinted, you pay depending on your vehicle’s weight, with heavier cars attracting higher costs, though this is not always the case. 

For cars weighing 8001-10000 pounds, the fee is $38.75 for the first month or $464 for the entire year. Fleet cars with a mass of 28001-30000 pounds require a $32.50 fee for the first month or an annual cost of $391. 

If applying for the California PFR program, you must pay $1 for each car that is part of the fleet. The fee is part of numerous transactions, like:

  • Initial fleet registration
  • Yearly registration renewal
  • Additional vehicles

You also pay the California Highway Patrol (CHP), transportation improvement, and county district fees if your vehicles will be using the highway.

You should check with your state’s DMV to know how much you need to get the FP registration tag. To be in the safe, set aside roughly $500 for your troubles. You may need more if you have a massive fleet. 

What Does FP Stand for In Cars?

You might encounter vehicles with an FP on their license plate, which can mean different things depending on your location. In states like Illinois, you will notice the FP on the left side of the tag in a vertical orientation. The letters mean fleet plate: vehicles bearing such plates are part of a fleet.

Fleet cars in other states may have different plates, like Oregon, whose plates have PF on them, denoting permanent fleets. California fleet cars will have a sticker on them.

In states like Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Arkansas, FP on license plates means Fraternal Order of Police, an organization of sworn-in police officers.

What Does FP Mean on A License Plate Illinois?

Illinois has numerous special plates, including the ones with FP on them. FP License plate Illinois specifies that the car is part of a fleet. You will see such plates on vehicles that are part of a large convoy owned by government agencies, companies like car rentals, and non-governmental organizations, among other similar entities. 

What Does Permanent Fleet Mean?

In some regions, a permanent fleet is a designation of vehicles that belong to a fleet. In Oregon, such cars will have the letters PF on the license plate in a vertical order. 

California and New York also use the permanent fleet tag on fleet cars as part of their respective Permanent Fleet Registration (PFR) programs. The program is open to companies and organizations that own a specific number of special-purpose or commercial vehicles. The cars will get with a PFR sticker.

How Do You Tell If A Car Was A Fleet Vehicle?

You can tell a car is part of a fleet in many ways, mainly via branding. Most fleet vehicles are branded to show their company affiliation and will have the company’s logo and/or colors. Another sure way of detecting a fleet vehicle is through its plates, though they differ depending on the state.

In Illinois, fleet cars have FP on their license plates, which stands for fleet plate, while Oregon fleet cars have PF on their plates, meaning permanent fleet. In Indiana, the vehicles have FLT on the left side of the plates before the serial code. 

California’s PFR program registers vehicles that are part of a fleet and issues them a sticker for identification. When buying a used car, you can determine whether it was part of a fleet by checking its history via VIN checking tools.

Can I Drive A Car I Just Bought Without Plates in Illinois?

You need a license plate when you buy a car in Illinois, and getting one can sometimes take too long. If you buy a vehicle from authorized dealerships, they can give you a temporary registration permit (TRP), which you use in place of the license plate. However, private sellers do not provide TRPs; you need to get it from a secretary of state office. 

Driving without plates is illegal in Illinois. Nevertheless, you have a 24-hour window to drive a bought car without plates before you get things in order. Use this timeframe to get a temporary permit valid for 90 days. 

Alternatively, you can get a 30-day driveaway permit in Illinois. This permit costs $27 and allows you to drive an unregistered car leaving the state. 

Final Words

You may have noticed some vehicles with plates bearing the letters in states like Illinois and hint at them being part of a fleet. FP in full is fleet plate, and you will see them in commercial vehicles or cars belonging to huge companies. It is an excellent way of identifying fleet cars and makes logistics a walk in the park.

Not all states subscribe to FP plates for fleet cars within their boundaries. Oregon issues registration plates with PF, which is permanent fleet in full. California fleet cars have a PFR sticker on their license plates. 

If you have a fleet, you should apply for fleet plates for easy management. Check out your state’s DMV for guidance on how to get the special license tags. 


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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