New Tennessee license plates offer an “In God we Trust” option

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022


Late last year, the Tennessee state government unveiled a new license plate for all residents throughout the state, and at the beginning of this month, they were available for purchase with a tag renewal.

The redesign comes after a public poll was released, allowing residents to vote on four different designs. The redesign also comes after a bill was passed requiring a new look on license plates every eight years, if funds allow.

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The redesigned vehicle tags are the most radical change since 2006, which featured green rolling hills.

In 2022, that look changed to a sleek blue background, an outline of the state at the top, and the state’s tri-star symbol in the center.

But there is another key part of the tag, which is optional to those purchasing new vehicle plates: the words “In God We Trust” surrounding the tri-star symbol.

We are selling more of the tags that include “In God We Trust” on them than the ones without,” said Carter County Clerk Mary Gouge. “We received a big shipment of that version, so we are always asking customers if they would like the option with the text.”

“As a matter of fact, there are a lot of people who received tags without the “In God We Trust” option that will actually bring them back and trade them for the version that does include it,” Gouge said.

Vehicle plates that include the words “In God We Trust” are not mandatory for purchase, as the decision is completely up to the consumer.

“There is no extra charge, no matter which version you choose. Both are the normal price of $29,” Gouge said.

The option for vehicle tags that include the words “In God We Trust” has been available for consumers since 2017, when a bill that added the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ to some Tennessee license plates became law. The original version of the bill would have required all new plates to have the national motto. Lawmakers changed the bill to make it optional.

For more information on the optional look of the new plates, or to renew your vehicle tag, contact the Carter County Clerk’s office at 423-542-1814. Office hours are from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.