Alberta's new licence plates will have an additional number. (Service Alberta)

Alberta is issuing seven-character licence plates starting this week after the province ran out of six-character combinations.

The province had planned to revamp the "Wild Rose Country" design with input from the public, but scrapped that idea to save money.

Alberta licence plates will now have an additional numeral, marking the first time the plates have changed in 27 years. The seven-character combination is expected to last for at least 10 years.

The province sifted through more than 33,000 online suggestions from the public in 2008, which mostly supported a design change. Officials mused over altering the "Wild Rose Country" slogan, as well as bringing back a front licence plate.

In the end, the $15 million price tag to replace all licence plates was not a spending priority, said a government spokesman.   Veteran and vanity plates will not change.