How it works and how to avoid/reduce these charges
With the increase in cashless tolls throughout the country, rental car companies have found a way to offer the convenience of managing these charges for you (and, of course, also profit from it).
How it works:
Cashless tolls are exactly what the name implies – electronic payments only – but it is not the same as payment with a credit card. Vehicles are billed by reading a transponder on the car or by scanning a license plate as vehicles drive through an open lane.
Toll services are an optional service selected at the time of rental. In some cases, you will have to opt-in, and for others, you will need to opt-out, so be sure to read the policy of the car rental company of your choice to avoid unpleasant surprises.
It works similarly to the “prepaid” fuel option they offer where you will likely pay more for the convenience – there is no need to stop at the toll booth with the exact change (in many locations you won’t even find a booth).
By offering you this service, all car rental companies have different policies for how to handle such charges:
Flat service fees: administrative fees charged for each day of rental regardless of whether you pass through a toll or not + the cost of the tolls
Daily service fee: administrative fees charged for each day you use tolls + the cost of the tolls
Why am I being billed for both the Toll Pass Service and the tolls?
Toll pass service enables customers to drive without worrying about unexpected tolls or having exact change at the time of passing through a toll gate. The daily Toll Pass Service fee does not include the actual toll charges.
Policies for our favorite car rental companies:
Avis Toll Program
Enterprise Toll Pass
Hertz Plate Pass
National Toll Pass
How to avoid/reduce toll fees
Avoid toll roads
Applications, such as Google Maps, allow you to define your route options with the choice to avoid tolls
Bring a transponder from home or buy one for the road
If you already have one transponder in your personal vehicle, chances are that you can use it somewhere within the US as well.
In cases where you cannot (depending on the pass program each state uses on their roads), you can buy one for the road.
In both cases, make sure the car rental company’s transponder is turned off, add your car rental’s license plate to your account for the dates of your travel, and take a picture in case the car company changes you at the end of your trip.
Choose a car rental company with the policy that better suits your needs
Map out your route to see how many tolls you will encounter, as you may want to go with a company that offers an all-inclusive package versus a company that charges an administrative fee per day of usage.
U.S. Cashless Toll Locations and Pass Programs Per State
Click below to open PDF:
10808 NE 145th Street, Bothell, WA - 98011
425.822.2333 or 800.678.8202
blog.autoslash.com, "Dos and Don’ts for Dealing with Rental Car Tolls" by Michael. May 1, 2023
upgradedpoints.com, “The Ultimate Guide to Car Rental Tolls Across the U.S." by Amar Hussain. June 11, 2023