To some, vanity plates are unnecessary. Why pay extra every year to control what your license plate says? Some folks love the option of personal expression, though. But that doesn’t mean you get to put whatever you want. One driver had a bit of a legal snafu after giving their Tesla a license plate that said “FKGAS.”

Sean Carroll, a Rhode Island resident, recently changed the plates on their Tesla Model 3 to say “FKGAS.” But this only happened after pressing legal charges against the local DMV to allow him to. 

Originally, the plate was rejected by the DMV for the implied use of vulgar language. They argued that the FK in the name could stand for the popular F expletive. Carroll, with the help of the ACLU, sued the state DMV to allow the plate, arguing that it stood for “Fake Gas” and not the word they claimed.

As of last Sunday, US District Judge Mary McElroy had decided on the side of Carroll, citing personal expression as the main reason. They acknowledge the potentially vulgar interpretation.

It may not end here, though. It opens up an argument over whether restricting vanity plates would be considered unconstitutional or not. If plates are truly considered a form of personal expression, then controlling what people say could be seen as a form of suppression. The state argues against this, claiming that since the system is used to identify vehicles and generate profit for the government, that its a form of government speech, giving the state the power to control what is and is not allowed.

Will this end in Carroll’s favor? Time will tell. For now, I think I’ll stick to my standard plates.