Gray Whale License Plates Coming To Oregon

The Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute Gray Whale vehicle license plate will be available for Oregon passenger vehicles only starting Feb. 1.

The plate is only for passenger vehicles titled and registered in Oregon. DMV cannot accept or process applications received before Feb. 1.

In addition to regular title, registration and plate manufacturing fees, the Gray Whale plate has a $40 surcharge due when you first order the plate and at each registration renewal. The surcharge is the same amount for four-year or two-year registration periods.

Customers who purchased a prepaid voucher may submit that with their application in lieu of the surcharge. The voucher may only be used once. The OSU Marine Mammal Institute was required to sell at least 3,000 vouchers before DMV could start implementation of the Gray Whale license plate. Surcharge funds will go to the OSU Marine Mammal Institute to help fund marine mammal research and education. For more information on the foundation, visit https://mmi.oregonstate.edu.

Custom (vanity) and Amateur Radio Operator (HAM radio) versions will be available on the Gray Whale plate. DMV cannot reserve specific number-letter configurations for license plates. Also, DMV does not sell “sample” versions of license plates.

People can apply for the plates by mail, at DMV field offices, online or through licensed vehicle dealers when they purchase a car. Customers cannot apply for a Gray Whale plate online if they are submitting a pre-paid voucher. Customers cannot replace vehicle plates through DEQ emissions testing stations (emissions tests are required only in parts of the Portland and Medford metropolitan areas).

The cost of a set of plates depends upon when and how a vehicle owner applies for a new set. Here are two common scenarios:

1. Plates ordered within 120 days before a vehicle’s stickers expire:

  • Gray Whale surcharge: $40 (also paid at every renewal) or a pre-paid voucher
  • Plate fee: $24 for the pair
  • Plate replacement fee: $5
  • Registration renewal: $112 (Multnomah County residents add $38; Washington County residents add $60)
  • Total without a voucher: $181 ($219 in Multnomah County; $241 in Washington County)
  • Total with a pre-paid voucher: $141 ($179 in Multnomah County; $201 in Washington County)

2. Plates ordered more than 120 days before a vehicle’s stickers expire:

  • Gray Whale surcharge: $40 (also paid at every two-year renewal) or a pre-paid voucher
  • Plate fee: $24 for the pair
  • Plate replacement fee: $10
  • Total without a voucher: $74
  • Total with a pre-paid voucher: $34

People who purchase a new or used vehicle from a licensed dealer may order Gray Whale plates as part of the car-buying process and provide a pre-paid voucher to the dealer if they have one. Dealers file title and registration applications with DMV on behalf of car buyers. When buying a car, there are charges in addition to those listed above, such as title fees and dealer processing charges.

To order new plates from DMV more than 120 days before a vehicle’s stickers expire, customers need to fill out an Application for Registration, Renewal, Replacement or Transfer of Plates and/or Stickers, Form 268. Customers can get this form at their local DMV office to apply for the plate in person, or they can save a trip to DMV by downloading it at OregonDMV.com and apply online or by mailing in the application and fees.

Before going to any DMV office, the agency suggests that you first check OregonDMV.com to make sure you have everything you need and view current wait times for the large DMV offices. Common transactions such as renewing vehicle registration, changing your address, and reporting the sale of a vehicle can be done online.

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