We’ve written plenty of rental car tips over the years, including many that can help you save money and avoid getting ripped off (here’s the best place to find a rental car that I know of). Today’s tip—also concerning rental cars—is one that I picked up from the AutoSlash newsletter, which you can sign up for here. In short, rental car companies will often charge you a daily fee for use of a toll pass (like E-Zpass). But if you have one, you can bring your own toll pass to save money. From the AutoSlash newsletter:
“One of the biggest car rental ripoffs is tolls—especially cashless tolls—that can catch you by surprise and add hefty extra charges to the overall cost of your rental car…PRO TIP: When the car rental company offers you a toll pass, know that you will be billed for the tolls AND charged a per-day fee for the transponder AND a tax on top of all of it. You can save big by bringing your own transponder from home or buying a toll pass directly from the provider.
“For example, a trip from North Carolina to Maine can be completed with a single transponder from E-ZPass. By our calculations, the best-value toll transponder is the NC Quick Pass, which costs less than many other toll passes and is good for travel in 18 states.”
Depending on where you’ll be driving (including international destinations), you may not be able to bring your own toll pass and avoid the daily fees. If you’re renting a car in the U.S., though, it’s something to look into.
More rental car tips
- This Is the Best Place to Find a Rental Car That I Know of
- Don’t Forget to Check the Rims of Your Rental Car
- This Rental Car Company Will Waive the Under-25 Fee for AAA Members
- You Don’t Always Have to Rent a Car From the Airport Location
- Take a Moment to Learn How Your Rental Car Gas Tank Door Opens
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Two things to add to this tip:
– Register your rental car license with the ez-pass provider. At least the NY ez-pass checks for registered license plates and will charge the toll in case of a mis-read or other problem.
– Some toll authorities (e.g., NJ and NY) state holding a transponder to the window is not valid use to the toll pass. So if it fails to read and the picture taken shows you holding it, you could be billed for a missed toll through the rental company. If nothing else, go the recommended speed and hoping the pass will be read.
License plate tolls (e.g., CO):
Check the toll operators website for payment options. I haven’t seen this yet in the US but in Australia all the toll roads give you 2-3 days from the first toll to logon and establish a short term account to cover the period of the rental. A great option!