What do the green stripes on car license plates mean?

Transport Minister Grant Shapps with his green license plates. (Photo: David Parry / PA)

If you’ve recently spotted any distinctive green stripes on license plates, you might be wondering what they are.

The “green license plates” were launched by the Ministry of Transportation as part of an initiative to encourage people to use electric cars.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the plaques would help “raise awareness” of all electric and zero-emission (EV) vehicles.

But what are the benefits of having a green license plate and where to buy one?

What are green license plates?

The UK government plans to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2030 and hybrid models by 2035.

This means that electric vehicles will be the only type of vehicle sold in the UK, and the introduction of green license plates is part of the government’s plans to promote a greener future.

Green license plates can only be used on all-electric vehicles, which are cars powered only by an electric battery.

An electric car recharges its battery at a charging station.

Electric cars must recharge their batteries at designated charging points. (Photo: Dukas / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

Hybrid models that use a mixture of gasoline and battery are not eligible for the program.

License plates look like standard British vehicle registration plates displayed on the front and back of cars.

But they are distinguished by a green strip on the left side of the plate.

What are the benefits?

Using a green license plate makes a car easily identifiable as an electric vehicle, which will be useful as the government plans to introduce programs that will benefit owners of electric vehicles.

The government wants local councils to set up zero emission zones to improve air quality and encourage the switch to electric vehicles. These would work the same as low emission zones, where vehicles must meet emission standards or pay a daily charge.

An electric car charging station parking space

Parking spaces for electric cars could be introduced (Photo: Geoffrey Swaine / REX / Shutterstock)

Ministers are also reportedly considering allowing electric vehicles to use reserved bus lanes and restricted roads, and there are also plans to reserve cheaper parking lots and priority spaces for electric car users.

However, so far, local councils have been slow to introduce these programs. But the government said owning a green license plate will help local authorities design new incentive policies in the future.

For example, local motorists with the green badge could benefit from cheaper parking and free entry to zero-emission zones.

Where can I get a green license plate?

If your car meets the zero emission standard, you can buy a green number plate from many reputable car shops across the UK.

You will need to bring your vehicle’s logbook (V5C) with you to prove your ownership and program eligibility.

Green license plates on an electric car

Electric car owners can purchase green license plates for the front and rear of their vehicle. (Photo: PA)

The store will verify that the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) box is checked at location P3 in your V5C logbook before it can purchase your plates, so make sure you have it on hand.

Halfords sells front and rear green license plates individually for £ 18, or in pairs for £ 36.

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