I've been thinking lately that I've hit upon a new urban economic indicator: diversity of state license plates on the local highways and byways. Looking back over the last few years, I can recall the crowded highways of the late 1990's and remember seeing license plates from just about everywhere. Between the post Internet bubble-recession and the post-9/11 travel scare, license plate diversity shrank to the point that I got used to seeing mostly our local license plate.
This has changed recently, however. In the past couple weeks, I've seen plates from Texas, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, British Columbia, Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York out on the local roads. It has actually been rather refreshing.
But what does it mean? In the late 1990's, I would attribute all of the various license plates to people who brought their cars here as they took new jobs or looked for work. Does it mean the same thing now? Or is it merely an unusually early burst of tourism? I don't know.
on 2004-05-28 at 12:15 p.m.
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