Learn What You May Have To Pay For Toll Roads BEFORE Renting A Car

When you rent a car anywhere in the U.S.A., you will always encounter some charges tacked on to the cost of the actual rental. Taxes. Fees. Surcharges. Upcharges. You know what I mean. If you’re going to be on any toll roads during your rental period, you should know ahead of time what the charges will be for tolls, especially if you’re going to be on a toll road that doesn’t take cash (a situation that is happening more and more often). Not following each rental car company’s respective rules for same could potentially gain you extra penalties that could run from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Here’s the rundown on what to expect:

BACKGROUND INFO THAT’S GOOD TO KNOW:

  • Several rental car companies are owned by the same companies, so their rules, if not the same, are very, very similar.
  • Different states have different electronic systems for payment of their tolls that, depending on the state, may or may not be interoperable with the electronic systems of other states (or portions of states).
  • Some toll roads are now 100% electronic, and therefore cashless and no longer offer a cash option. Others might, but don’t offer change.
  • You can often (BUT NOT ALWAYS!) use your own transponder if you have one that works on the particular road in question – consult with the car rental company for details.
  • Although often listed as toll pass “options,” renters should know they may have no choice. i.e.: by law, renters in Texas are not able to decline a toll pass feature; all rental vehicles are equipped with either video tolling capability or toll transponders and you MUST use them (and pay the administrative fees that are tagged on).
  • Always read ALL of the fine print and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense.
  • Get things in writing if what they tell you sounds different from what’s in the fine print.
  • You should always request a full disclosure of any toll pass program available and/or mandatory and request a clear breakdown of all charges– both from the toll authority, as well as the car rental company.
  • Your GPS can most likely be set to avoid toll roads.

Here are the majority of the major, U.S.-based nationwide car rental companies and their policies about tolls. There are some where I just COULD NOT FIND that information – and I am REALLY good with the Google fu ;-). If I couldn’t find it, well, I would personally think twice about renting a car from those companies – who knows what else they’re trying to hide?

Ace Rent A Car

Case in point, I could not find any information about tolls on Ace’s corporate website, but was able to find only one regulation from one place – Puerto Rico: ” Express Pass Option: All vehicles are equipped with an easy pass for the toll roads. At the time of rental you will be offered a $10.00 one time express pass service fee. The amount of tolls used for any particular day you use it will be charged to your credit card at a later time. The Express Pass authority sends Charlie Car Rental all toll activity for our fleet every 24 hours so in most cases the toll charge will appear on your contract before the contract closes. The Express Pass authority can take up to 2 or more weeks to process any toll activity therefore you may see charges from Charlie Car Rental after your contract has been closed .If you do not go through the easy pass lane no charges will be made for toll use. WARNING: Should you choose not to use this service and an express lane is used you will be charged a $25.00 service fee plus any tolls used. Should you tamper with, remove or use any toll transponder other than the one originally assigned to the vehicle by Charlie Car Rental you will incur in a $250.00 fine.” There is nothing I could find that would suggest that rule would or would not apply in other states or other franchisees. Therefore I cannot recommend Ace Rent-A-Car in terms of their policy for tolls.

Advantage Rent A Car

Advantage uses Plate Pass Automated Toll Payment throughout Texas, Florida, Colorado, the Greater San Francisco Bay Area Bridges, North Carolina, Washington and the Northeast U.S, as well as Puerto Rico. PlatePass is plate-based in Texas, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Washington and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area Bridges. PlatePass utilizes a transponder in the Northeast E-ZPass and I-Pass regions. The charge for the transponder is $4.95, on top of the actual tolls you have to pay, with a $24.75 maximum fee per rental month (30 days). Your opt-in decision is made when you elects to use an ELECTRONIC ONLY toll lane – it’s billed automatically to all drivers who use an eligible cashless toll road, and they charge you every day of your rental, whether you use a toll road each day or not. Call 1-888-333-0754 (Advantage Customer Service) if you have questions about your bill or 1-877-411-4300 for PlatePass Customer Service. NOTE: I could not find any information about tolls on Advantage’s website, so I used the link for Plate Pass.

Alamo

Alamo uses the Alamo TollPass program, and the rules for payment vary, depending on what state you’re in. Click here for details. Call 1-888-233-8749 to reach Alamo’s Customer Service.

Avis

Avis uses the e-Toll program in the Northeast (from Maine to North Carolina), California, the Chicago area, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Puerto Rico. As per their website, once you pass through an electronic toll, you will pay a convenience fee of $3.95 for each day of the entire rental period, including any days on which e-Toll is not used, up to a maximum of $19.75 per rental month, plus incurred tolls at the maximum prevailing rates posted by the toll authority. You can avoid the convenience fee and any other charges by paying the toll in cash, using your own electronic toll device, or avoiding any cashless toll road or passage. Call 1-800-352-7900 for Avis’ Customer Service.

Budget

Budget uses the e-Toll program, which is offered in the Northeast (from Maine to North Carolina), California, Chicago Area, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Puerto Rico. As per their website, if you do not pay cash for tolls, you automatically opt into their e-Toll service (pursuant to which you agree to pay them their or their toll program administrator, with whom they will share your credit card/debit information, for all tolls incurred during your rental and all related fees, charges and penalties). Under the e-Toll program, once you pass through an electronic toll, you will pay a convenience fee of $3.95 for each day of the entire rental period, including any days on which e-Toll is not used, up to a maximum of $19.75 per rental month, plus incurred tolls at the maximum prevailing rates posted by the toll authority. Instructions for use in each eligible state are listed here. Call 1-800-214-6094 to reach Budget’s Customer Service.

Dollar Car Rental

Dollar uses Plate Pass Automated Toll Payment and the charges for the use of the PlatePass system, as well as the maximum charge appears to vary from state to state. You must opt-in or decline this service at the time of reservation or at the rental counter. If you decline PlatePass at the start of the rental period, but still use electronic toll roads and/or bridges during the rental period (including “cashless” or “all electronic” toll roads and bridges), you will be liable for and will be charged for: (a) all tolls incurred for such use (at the highest, undiscounted applicable toll rate); (b) a $15 administrative fee for each toll incurred (subject to a $90 cap for such toll-related administrative fees for the rental period); and (c) all other applicable toll charges or fees, if any. Call 1-800-800-5252 to reach Dollar’s Customer Service.

Enterprise

Enterprises uses the Enterprise TollPass program, and the rules for payment vary, depending on what state you’re in. Click here for details. Call 1-855-266-9565 to reach Enterprise’ Customer Service.

E-Z Rent A Car

“Renters can opt to be included in E-Z Toll program which allows for quick by-pass of unmanned toll booths. Acceptance of E-Z Toll includes a daily fee of $6.99 and this daily fee includes the price of the tolls used. EZTOL must be accepted at the time of pickup and be applied for the entire length of the rental. If EZTOL is not accepted and a toll violation occurs on the rental, an admin fee of $25 per violation plus the cost of the toll will be applied to the rental contract.” This information is from 2015 and NOT from E-Z Rent-A-Car’s website. I could find NOTHING from E-Z Rent-A-Car’s website about tolls and only complaints about E-Z Toll system. Therefore I cannot recommend E-Z Rent-A-car in terms of their policy for tolls. Call 800-277-5171 to reach E-Z’s Customer Service.

Fox Rental Car

Fox uses PlatePass All-Inclusive Service and the charges for the use of the PlatePass system, as well as the maximum charge appears to vary from state to state. From their website: “…use of toll roads during the rental period is the financial responsibility of the renter. Any/all charges for…use of a toll road that go unpaid are issued to the registered owner of the vehicle. In turn, the renters’ credit card is charged for all/any charges associated with…toll usage plus a service charge for each unpaid item. In order to avoid such charges, the renter will need to: …only access toll roads that allow for payment when entering, avoid entering toll roads that require some type of PASS, as these toll roads do not allow for payment at time of use.

If you receive a violation, you will need to contact ATS who administers the tolls and violation program for Fox.

Violations incur a $40 administrative fee. Per the rental agreement, charges are billed by ATS (Fox) and will appear on your credit card statement.

Tolls where PlatePass is not covered or for rentals that originated at a location that doesn’t offer PlatePass, Renter will be charged a $40 administrative fee per Toll Issuer plus the applicable tolls.”

Fill out the form on this page for general questions.

Hertz Car Rental

Hertz uses Plate Pass Automated Toll Payment. The charge for the transponder is $4.95, on top of the actual tolls you have to pay, with a $24.75 maximum fee per rental month (30 days). Your opt-in decision is made when you elects to use a TRANSPONDER or ELECTRONIC ONLY lanes – it’s billed automatically to all drivers who use an eligible cashless toll road, and they charge you every day of your rental, whether you use a toll road each day or not. Call 1-800-654-4173 to reach Hertz’ Customer Service.

National

National uses the National TollPass program, and the rules for payment vary, depending on what state you’re in. Click here for details. Call to 1-844-393-9989 reach National’s Customer Service.

Payless Car Rental

Payless uses the e-Toll program. As per their website, under the e-Toll program, once you pass through an electronic toll, you will pay a convenience fee of $2.95 for each day of the entire rental period, including any days on which e-Toll is not used, up to a maximum of $14.75 per rental month, plus incurred tolls at the maximum prevailing rates posted by the toll authority. You can avoid the convenience fee and any other charges by paying the toll in cash, using your electronic toll device, or avoiding any cashless toll road or passage. Call 1-800-729-5377 to reach Payless’ Customer Service.

Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc.

Many Rent-A-Wreck locations offer electronic toll transponder devices for use during the rental for an additional daily charge. A toll transponder allows the driver to use all electronic lanes on all the toll roads in that region, as applicable; and, as many times a day as necessary. If you decline to rent the toll transponder, you will pay Rent-A-Wreck for all unpaid toll road violations (including violations captured by camera) charged by the toll authority plus up to a $50.00 administrative fee per violation. If you have a personal transponder or account, it may not transfer to the rental vehicle and you may be charged a toll violation by the toll authority. Please be advised that some toll roads are managed electronically and have no manned booths for cash payment.

So they’ll rent you a transponder, but they don’t tell you how much it will be? Hmmm… Anyway, call 1-888-898-0808 to reach Rent-A-Wreck’s Customer Service.

Silvercar

Silvercar only charges you for the actual tolls you incur, with no charge for a transponder. We love Silvercar :-). Call 1-855-359-2227 to reach Silvercar’s Customer Service.

Sixt

From Sixt’s website:
“Some states have toll roads which may or may not accept cash. You have a choice on how you want to pay for tolls:

(1) Express Toll/ EZ Toll Pass Service:
For your convenience, you can purchase our optional Express Toll Service which offers unlimited use of automated toll lanes. Price and availability vary by state.

(2) Pay Per Use:
If you do not select our Express Toll/ EZ Toll Pass Service, and do not pay cash at a toll, you are automatically enrolled in our pay per use program. The cost for this service will be the cost of the toll plus a USD 5.00 administration fee per toll. You can avoid the administration fee and any other charges by paying the toll in cash, avoiding any cashless toll road or passage, or using your own electronic toll device.

Our optional E-ZPass Tag for Weehawken (N.J.) will be offered for a daily rental rate of $3.95, after the rental you will be charged for the toll transactions at the posted cash price.” Call 1-888-SIXTCAR (749-8227) for questions.

Thrifty Car Rental

Thrifty uses Plate Pass Automated Toll Payment and the charges for the use of the PlatePass system, as well as the maximum charge appears to vary from state to state.. You must opt-in or decline this service at the time of reservation or at the rental counter. If you decline PlatePass at the start of the rental period, but still use electronic toll roads and/or bridges during the rental period (including “cashless” or “all electronic” toll roads and bridges), you will be liable for and will be charged for: (a) all tolls incurred for such use (at the highest, undiscounted applicable toll rate); (b) a $15 administrative fee for each toll incurred (FL – $9.99 per occurrence) (subject to a $90 cap for such toll-related administrative fees for the rental period); and (c) all other applicable toll charges or fees, if any. Call 1-900-847-4389 to reach Thrifty’s Customer Service.

U-Save Car Rentals

I could not find any information about tolls on U-Save’s corporate website, but was able to find only one regulation from one state/franchisee – Miami: “Disclaimer: If customer chooses to decline Sunpass and passes through tolls throughout their rental period there will be an additional admin fee of $15 for the day that the customer went through and plus 8.25 per day which represents the tolls fees.” There is nothing I could find that would suggest that rule would apply in other states or other franchisees. Therefore I cannot recommend E-Z Rent-A-car in terms of their policy for tolls. Call 1-800-272-8728 to for questions.

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