News from the Reference Desk Category: Auto

EPA Emissions Testing Notices


Due to the budget crisis in Illinois, the Illinois EPA has suspended the mailing of emissions test notifications.  If you have plates expiring at the end of March 2016 you’ll be the first group of drivers who do not receive a mailed notification for the emissions test.

The EPA encourages drivers to get their emissions test done several weeks before the plate sticker expiration date, particularly should you need to have repairs done if you don’t pass the initial test.  You can have your emissions test done 4 months in advance of when your plates expire.  If your emissions test is not completed and in the system it can cause problems when renewing your plates or drivers license.

The Illinois Secretary of State has an online tool to determine whether your vehicle is due for an emissions test

For further information please visit:

Roads of Yesterday

Summertime in most areas of the United States heralds road construction season. But what was it like for automobile drivers 100 years ago? This video prepared by the Ford Motor Company shows how the Model T was built and what it was like to drive in those early days of the automobile age. Most roads were not paved and snow plowing was nonexistent. Mount Prospect entered the automobile age in full force when William Busse bought his first Buick automobile and eventually became a Buick dealer. Here is a c1920 photograph from the Mount Prospect Historical Society showing William and his son, Fred, with the family’s first automobile. Most of Mount Prospect’s roads were unpaved until the mid-1920s.

Summer Driving

The U.S. Department of Energy has a site for fuel economy information which many drivers may find helpful in saving money, finding the right car, and checking EPA ratings. Please take a look at

Standard Mileage Rates

WASHINGTON: 12/3/10 — The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2011 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2011, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 51 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs as determined by the same study. Independent contractor Runzheimer International conducted the study.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for any vehicle used for hire or for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Revenue Procedure 2010-51 contains additional details regarding the standard mileage rates.