New Mexico’s chile license plate design revealed

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexicans will soon have another option for the back of their cars. The chile license plate is coming, and as it turns out, it’ll cost less than originally planned.

The background is black, with yellow lettering. At the top, the title “Chile Capital of the World” appears.

In a twist, the new plates stem from a move by Gov. Susana Martinez.

“The governor did veto a bill that would have created a chile license plate, and she did that because the MVD director has the power to create a license plate at his discretion,” explained Ben Cloutier, communications director for the Taxation and Revenue Department.

‘”This, therefore, makes it so that New Mexico citizens don’t have to pay an additional $35 fee. They’ll just be able to get the license plate without paying a fee, just the normal registration cost,” Cloutier said.

“We do have a lot of chile here. It’s got red and green, which is good,” one man said.

Rep. Cathrynn Brown, a Republican from Carlsbad sponsored the initial legislation to issue a chile license plate. She told KRQE News 13, “No one wants to receive a veto message on a bill, but this is actually a fun veto message to read.”

Brown’s license plate would have benefited the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.

“I understand her reasoning. In the end, we get a chile plate,” Brown said.

The race was on after Colorado considered issuing a Pueblo chile license plate design.

“Colorado’s chile industry is a lot younger, and not nearly as well known, so I think the title belongs to us,” she said.

The plates are already generating lots of opinions from New Mexico drivers.

“I like it. I like the red and green, the black background. It’s pretty cool. I think it’s something I’d put on my vehicle,” one driver said.

With an opposing viewpoint, one woman said, “I don’t like the black background, but the chiles are OK, I guess. I don’t know. It’s kind of tacky.”

The state hopes to start issuing the chile plates in New Mexico by June.

For drivers with a current registration who choose to switch to the chile license plate, it will cost $17 in office, or a $7.25 online replacement fee is required. Drivers with specialty plates can switch to the chile license plate at no cost, according to the state. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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