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It’s important to read the fine print when it comes to electronic tolls and rental cars

With more and more roadways going to electronic tolling, it’s important to ask questions and read the fine print when renting a car. Seventeen states now collect tolls electronically through E-Z Pass while nearly a dozen more use an alternate system. Most major car rental companies offer electronic tolling devices for customers to use, but they can come with a significant fee above and beyond the cost of the actual toll.  Some companies charge an administration fee based on actual use while others set their fees by rental period.  Some companies also offer pre-paid options which may or may not be more economical. 

According to a recent survey, Dollar and Thrifty tack on some of the highest administration fees for use of a tolling transponder at $9.99 per toll in Florida and $15 per toll in several other states. While the administration fee is capped at $90, this charge often brings the cost of using an electronic tolling device well over the cost of the actual toll.

Hertz assesses administration fees of $5.95 each day a driver incurs a toll. There is no maximum for the convenience fee.  Avis and Budget along with the Enterprise Group, which includes Enterprise, National and Alamo, charge $3.95 per day but cap their fees at a much more reasonable $19.75 per month.

Rental car customers should note that they typically have the option of using their own transponders for electronic tolling, but many renters report that it’s not often mentioned. Renters who do plan on using their own transponder need to make sure the rental company’s transponder is indeed turned off in order to avoid being charged twice.

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