Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

National aluminum shortage impacting Montana license plate production

Nadya Faulx
Yellowstone Public Radio

A lag in the country’s aluminum supply is disrupting the way Montana issues license plates.

Montana Correctional Enterprises, a division of the Montana Department of Corrections, runs the license plate factory in Deer Lodge. MCE says that an ongoing aluminum shortage means its factory will print plates without the usual metal backing for the time being.

“We knew this might be a possibility because it’s been an issue at other license plate factories throughout the nation,” MCE Administrator Gayle Butler said in a statement Friday.

Butler said the agency has been searching for other sources of aluminum, but “everyone is either in the same situation as us, or understandably, they don’t want to find themselves in the same position, so they don’t want to sell their materials.”

Inmates at the factory provide about 750,000 license plates per year for the entire state.

MCE will continue to produce temporary license plates, and the Montana Motor Vehicle Division will replace the temporary plates once the state is able to replenish its aluminum supplies.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.