We've checked various calendars and confirmed the date is not April 1, so we can safely say this is not a joke – it's just another idea from the California idea lab. In order to help close the state's $19.1 billion deficit, a study bill has been introduced that allows the DMV to explore the feasibility of digital license plates. The new tags would display the number when the car is moving, then show ads and public service announcements any time the car stops for more than a few seconds. It isn't clear if the license number would always be displayed or would disappear when the ads come up.

The stated goals are the same as always: a public-private partnership that will bring in revenue and create jobs. We're still a long way from seeing such a thing happen – the private company that owns the technology doesn't yet have a working prototype. The DMV has until 2013 to complete its research, but now that the door is open, we wouldn't be surprised if something, somewhere, came of this.

[Source: NBC San Diego | Image: Brett L.]