Rental Cars & Tolls – How It Works And Its Cost


    You’ve just arrived at your destination, itinerary in hand and rental car queued up but you don’t have any change, and you are in a state that believes strongly in tolls roads. As more and more states are switching to electronic tolls only, cash payments won’t be accepted and your rental car company will charge you to use the toll service. In some states, however, the license plate of the vehicle itself will be used to charge you for the tolls and in others, you will need a “transponder” or a tolling device to allow you to run the tolls without violations. There are some things you should know before you factor in the cost of the tolls into your travel plans:

    1. Most States Have Two Rates – One for when you use a toll tag and one for when you “pay by mail”. The difference is usually not high but it does add up. For example, on the Dallas I-635 toll way, the standard rate is $1.52 but the pay by mail rate is $2.22
    2. Convenience fees – Most rental car companies will charge a convenience fee and this fee is charged for every day you have your rental even if you only used the toll tag once. For example, if you had the car for 3 days and only used the toll tag for ONE toll, the convenience fee will be charged for all 3 days unless the convenience fee has reached the maximum convenience fee charge set by the rental company (see below)
    3. Toll Transponder – There are several states where the plate pass won’t cut it and in those states your car should have a toll transponder or you’ll have to ask for one (see below)
    4. Timing Delay – Usually these tolls are charged by a third-party company (aside for Avis) which means that if you pre-paid your rental or will pay for it upon return, your toll charges will hit your card 7-10 days after you return your rental car.

    Here is a comparison chart on the toll charges and their comparison between Hertz, Avis, National and Enterprise. For the coverage being the same, Hertz has the highest convenience fee compared to the rest of the competition.

    hertzlogo avislogo nationallogo enterpriselogo
    Third Party Company Plate Pass e-Toll (operated by Avis) Highway Toll Administration (HTA) Highway Toll Administration (HTA)
    Convenience Fee
    (Daily Charged)
    $4.95 $3.95 $3.95 $3.95
    Maximum Convenience Fee (per rental month) $24.75 $19.75 $19.75 $19.75
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