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Vanity license plates are issued by the state a car is registered in. The difference is that the owner selects the 7 or 8 letters and numbers they want for their license plate and pays an additional fee from $10 to $100, depending on the state, to buy their choice of license plate. States often also allow the choice of a number of different backgrounds on the plate. With the restriction to 7 or 8 letters, numbers and sometimes characters, owners have become very creative at spelling personally meaningful messages, like L8 2 WRK (late to work).