The Internal Revenue Service has raised the standard business mileage rate for automobile expenses for 2005 by three cents -- the  largest one-year rise ever.

The agency said that the hike was primarily prompted by higher prices for vehicles and fuel during the year ending in September. That rate, effective Jan. 1, 2005, will be 40.5 cents per mile for all business miles driven, up from 37.5 cents a mile in 2004.

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