NCDMV suspends replacement of older license plates amid aluminum shortage

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- A worldwide shortage of aluminum has forced the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to indefinitely suspend a program that replaces license plates older than six years.

The move is being done to ensure there is enough material to produce first-time plates.

Typical first-time plate production of around 400 to 500 a day.

North Carolina DMV officials said more than 640,000 replacement plates were made in the first four months of this year, with another 1.4 million projected for the rest of 2021.

Corrections Enterprises, which handles the plate production, has enough aluminum on hand to make around 160,000 plates, with another shipment of metal expected in mid-May.

Officials said there is no timetable for when the issuance of replacement plates will resume. If the suspension continues into late 2021, it is likely the rest of phase 1 of the program will be handled in 2022 and phase 2 moving back a year to 2023.

The plate replacements were originally supposed to start July 1, 2020 but were pushed to 2021 amid the pandemic.

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