January License Plate Report

January! Such a satisfying month. Especially satisfying after the five-month drought that ended 2012. Another year, a fresh start, a bumper crop of license plates.

I spotted 23 states during the first month of 2013. Not great, but not bad either. January’s map has an interesting shape:

2013 jan license map

Tennessee in the #2 spot! There it was at up-island Cronig’s on the 2nd or 3rd of the month. The New England states took their sweet time showing up. Usually they’re all in the top ten. This year only Massachusetts and Maine were in the top five; Vermont showed up 8th, Connecticut 11th, New Hampshire 15th, and Rhode Island — which, you’ll remember, is right next door to Massachusetts, was #20.

So what are y’all doing here this time of year?

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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8 Responses to January License Plate Report

  1. Glenny says:

    Doing well for February so far, my first try: 23. Of course, I am on the mainland. And the month isn’t over, so I have hopes. Today brought Idaho. Who woulda thunk it. The usual suspects are NC, SC, GA, VA, FL, and TN. MD not unusual. CT, PA, CA, TX, HI, OR, NM, MI, MN, MA, IL, IN, NY, however, these are more striking. What fun 🙂


  2. Betty says:

    Funny, I was just thinking I would have been one of your tallies around 20 years ago when we arrived here from CA. Of course, I was mortified to be driving a CA car. We had only lived there 9 months and were from MA. I didn’t want everyone to be concerned that they were being invaded by CAians. I quickly got back some MA plates and gave Mr. B (Bresnahan) one of our plates for his collection in the 8th grade science room at the Tisbury School. CA is a great state to visit, but I wasn’t not very happy living there and raising a family.


    • Some days I’m sure I could never, ever, ever move out of state because (a) I’m a Mass. native and couldn’t stand to have non-Mass. plates on my car, and (b) I’ve got a four-digit plate that originally belonged to my father’s uncle or great-uncle (can’t remember which) and if I moved out of state I’d wind up with some boring combination of letters and numbers with no significance whatsoever. (As a long-ago acquaintance observed, “We take license plates seriously in Massachusetts.”)

      Every year the West Coast fills in fast. Plenty of California plates on this here island! If I were statistically minded, I’d work out an algorithm for license plate appearances on Martha’s Vineyard. I suspect the key variables are a state’s population, distance from Massachusetts, and average per-capita income. California is a long way away, but it’s got a big and relatively affluent population. The hard-to-catch states, like Mississippi and (of course) North Dakota, are a long way from Massachusetts and have relatively small populations that aren’t rolling in disposable income.


  3. Glenny says:

    Hmm. I notice but never tally. Too many Floridians. Will report for western North Carolina at the end of the month.


  4. tompostpile says:

    I have but a measly octet so far. MA, NY, NJ, PA, RI, VT, NH and CT. Maybe February will be more productive.


  5. tompostpile says:

    I don’t get out enough, and my looking time has been compromised by being Away. Will get report from truck tomorrow, but it’s pretty darned local.


    • Also once you’re in the habit of looking up, you miss a lot of license plates. Getting about half the states in January is pretty good. One year I got 35, but that was when I was commuting to the M.V. Times office several times a week, not to mention strolling around Five Corners on my work breaks or running across the street to buy candy bars at the X-tra Mart.


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