South South Dakota

One thing we were quick to notice after arriving in town was the suspicious number of South Dakota license plates. You could easily walk around town and maybe half of all the vehicles would be sporting The Mount Rushmore State‘s placas. Now that winter and the busy season is coming, those cars now mingle with California, Oregon and B.C. plates, but still… South Dakota?

Of course, there’s a catch: fifty bucks (or so). That’s what it takes to get your vehicle registered and plated in South Dakota. That’s it. You don’t need to be a resident. You don’t need to have insurance. You don’t need a vehicle inspection. You don’t need a smog test. For all I know, the state DMV will mail your plates directly to Mexico.

It’s a funny little loophole that allows the local expats* to keep a legal vehicle on the road in Mexico without much cost, or even returning to the U.S. And, it probably put’s more than a few bucks into the pockets of the S.D. state government. Everybody’s happy, right?

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*I was going to post photos to S.D. plated cars lining the streets to demonstrate the point, but later thought better of it.

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