What Does P.M. Mean On A License Plate?

The abbreviation “P.M.” on a license plate typically stands for “permanent.” This is often used by rental car companies or fleet vehicle companies that choose permanent registration for their vehicles. When a company opts for permanent registration, they are issued a “P.M.” decal for the vehicle. This allows the company to avoid the need for annual registration renewals and associated fees.

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P.m. means permanent. Rental car companies or fleet vehicles companies can choose between regular or permanent registration for the vehicle. If the company chooses a permanent registration they are issued a P.M. decal for the vehicle.

Answered from Anonymous

The “PM” on license plates stands for “permanent.”

Answered from Anonymous

What Does P.M. Mean on a License Plate?

You may have noticed license plates containing the letters “P.M.” and wondered what they signify. P.M. stands for “permanent” and indicates a type of vehicle registration and plate issued in some U.S. states. Permanent or P.M. plates are typically used for fleet vehicles, car rentals, dealer cars, and business company cars that need to stay registered long-term. This comprehensive guide will explain what P.M. license plates are, which vehicles use them, how they differ from standard plates, and P.M. plate policies across different states.

Table of Contents

  • What vehicles have P.M. plates?
  • Why do some vehicles need permanent plates?
  • Identifying P.M. license plates
  • States that issue permanent plates
  • Restrictions with P.M. plates
  • Transferring P.M. plates to other vehicles
  • Do P.M. plates expire?
  • Costs of getting P.M. plates
  • Differences from regular plates

What Vehicles Have P.M. Plates?

P.M. or permanent license plates are typically issued to:

  • Rental car fleets
  • Company fleet vehicles
  • Car dealership inventory vehicles
  • Some commercial business vehicles

For example, rental car companies like Hertz or Enterprise will register their fleet of rental cars with P.M. plates rather than standard plates. The same goes for business fleets like plumbers or contractors registering all of their work trucks.

According to industry estimates, around 3-5% of all registered vehicles in most states have P.M. plates. So you'll see them commonly on rental cars, fleet vans, dealer loaner cars, commercial trucks, and other vehicles registered to businesses rather than individuals. Private personal vehicles do not qualify for permanent plates.

Why Do Some Vehicles Need Permanent Plates?

For vehicles that are constantly being rotated in and out of service, permanent registration through P.M. plates offers advantages:

  • Avoid frequent registration – With standard plates, vehicles would have to be individually registered and unregistered each time they are put in and out of service. P.M. plates keep the fleet universally registered.
  • Simplify record management – P.M. plates allow rental and fleet companies to track and manage vehicles under one registration system.
  • Eliminate expired issues – Since P.M. plates don't expire, companies don't have to renew registration on every individual vehicle each year.
  • Reduce costs – volume registration of an entire fleet can cost less overall than per-vehicle registration fees each year.

So for large fleets, P.M. plates streamline operations and offer registration convenience.

Identifying P.M. License Plates

Permanent license plates clearly contain the letters “P.M.” This differentiates them from standard license plates issued to private vehicles.

P.M. plates follow the same basic format as regular plates – a unique combination of letters and numbers. But the P.M. designation will be present, either centered or to one side.

Some states use slightly different terminology like “Perm” or “Fleet” but the idea is the same – a special permanent registration for qualified vehicles.

States That Issue Permanent Plates

Most states allow permanent fleet registration and P.M. plates, but regulations vary widely. Here are some key states:

  • California – Uses P.M. for all fleet vehicles. Restricts usage only while vehicle within fleet.
  • Texas – Issues P.M. plates for any vehicle that meets requirements, not just fleets. Allows transferring between vehicles.
  • Florida – Specifies FLRP.M. plate with “fleet” spelled out. Annual renewal required.
  • New York – Uses yellow plates labeled Perm that don't expire for 2 years.
  • Illinois – Allows P.M. plates for businesses, governments, and manufacturers. Requires annual renewal.

Some states like Delaware and Oklahoma don't issue permanent plates. Check your local DMV policies.

Restrictions With P.M. Plates

While convenient, permanent fleet registration plates do come with restrictions:

  • For company fleet use only – In most states, P.M. plates can only be used on vehicles actively part of company's registered fleet.
  • Annual update – Some states require renewing P.M. plate registration yearly, unlike civilian plates that can be 2+ years.
  • Cannot be transferred to other vehicles – Generally P.M. plates can't be transferred to vehicles not part of the registered fleet.
  • Specific types of vehicles – In some states, only certain vehicle types like rental cars qualify for P.M. plates.

So while useful for businesses, P.M. plates are not the same as standard private vehicle registration.

Transferring P.M. Plates Between Vehicles

In a few states like Texas and Utah, P.M. plates can be transferred between vehicles under individual ownership, given some conditions. But in most states, permanent fleet plates can only be used on vehicles actively in the fleet associated with the registration.

Transferring P.M. plates between non-fleet vehicles would require registering the new vehicle to a fictitious business name. This fraudulent use of fleet plates is illegal.

Do P.M. Plates Expire?

A key benefit of P.M. permanent registration is avoiding annual expiration. But policies vary:

  • In 13 states, P.M. plates expire annually and must be renewed like regular plates.
  • In other states, P.M. plates expiration ranges from every 2 years, 5 years, to no expiration.
  • In California, P.M rental fleet plates expire when the vehicle leaves the fleet.

So while P.M. plates offer longer registration periods in many states, businesses should consult DMV rules. Some require validating P.M. plates each year.

Costs of Getting P.M. Plates

P.M. permanent registration plates do come at a higher upfront cost than standard plates. Average fees:

  • Standard plate registration: $25-$100 annually
  • Permanent registration: $400-$1000 one-time fee

But longer registration periods and volume fleet discounts can offset higher initial P.M. plate costs. Convenience and hassle reduction also add value for qualifying companies.

Differences from Regular Plates

To summarize the key differences:

Standard PlatesP.M. Plates
Issued toIndividual vehiclesBusiness fleets
Registration1-2 yearsPermanent or 5+ years
RenewalRequiredSome states exempt
TransferableYesOnly within registered fleet
ExpirationExpires unless renewedMay stay valid indefinitely
Cost$25-$100 annual$400-$1000 one-time

So while P.M. plates allow fleets convenience, they come with restrictions and higher costs compared to standard plates. Following the P.M. designation on a license plate indicates it is registered permanently to a company rather than a private individual owner.


P.M. on license plates stands for “permanent” and allows fleet vehicles to stay registered long-term rather than renewing annually. Rental car companies, dealer inventories, contractors, and other businesses with vehicles constantly rotating in-service find P.M. plates convenient and cost-effective.

But restrictions limit transferring P.M. plates between non-fleet vehicles. Understanding the P.M. designation can clear up confusion about these specialized license plates commonly seen on the roads.


[1] https://www.driversadvice.com/what-does-pm-mean-on-a-license-plate/
[2] https://www.clickorlando.com/traffic/2022/03/25/ask-trooper-steve-what-do-the-letters-pm-mean-on-a-registration-sticker/
[3] https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/bulletins/2021/info21-012.pdf
[4] https://youtube.com/watch?v=YSISpCzXWJk
[5] https://yourmileagemayvary.com/2022/10/27/the-new-loophole-for-rental-cars-registered-in-florida/
[6] https://dmv.nv.gov/platescodes.htm


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