MADISON – New license plates are about to get a bit longer in Wisconsin, as the supply of six-character plate combinations are running out.

New license plates with seven characters will be issued beginning later this month, according to a news release issued Thursday by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Local DMVs and third-party vendors will continue to issue the six-character plates until their inventory is exhausted.

“There’s been a lot of interest as we near the end of the alphabet and the license plate series,” said Jeremy Krueger, supervisor of the DMV license issuance unit. “All of the number combinations have been used, and we needed to find a large range of plate numbers to use into the future.”

The additional character will yield 100 million combinations, Krueger said The six character plates yielded about 20 million combinations since they debuted in 1986. “This should last awhile,” he added.

The combination on the current design reversed from letters to numbers (WRZ-999 to 123-ABC) in 2000. The new configuration will return three letters beginning with AAA- then followed by four numbers (AAA-1001). The plate artwork will stay the same.