Last year before switch to year-round sales

Clout Street

Chicago drivers can now make their annual payment for the privilege of keeping a car in the city.

City stickers went on sale this week at City Clerk Susana Mendoza's office, online and at some currency exchanges. The stickers also can be purchased through the mail.

About 1.3 million drivers will need to buy the stickers, Mendoza said. The current stickers will lapse July 1, but drivers without the new stickers won't get ticketed until July 16, she said.

"There is such a thing as procrastination," Mendoza said at a news conference at City Hall, talking about the traditional two-week grace period for drivers to get the stickers onto their windshields.

This is the final year for all stickers to be sold at the same time. Beginning in 2014, drivers will buy them throughout the year, with their purchase month tied to the month when they have to renew their license plates with the Illinois secretary of state.

Drivers will need to present their vehicle identification numbers along with their payments this year, so the clerk's office can set up their new payment schedule for 2014.

The stickers cost $85 for a standard car and $135 for a vehicle heavier than 4,500 pounds under a price increase Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through as part of his 2012 budget. Pickup truck owners pay $200. Starting in 2014, sticker fees will automatically rise every two years by the rate of inflation, limited to 5 percent.

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