For many drivers, paying a toll to drive is a standard part of traveling. However, while some toll roads or agencies give discounts the more you use a road, tolls can add up. To make matters worse, many toll roads drastically increase the tolls for larger vehicles.
Some drivers are in for a surprise when they drive through a toll booth in a larger vehicle or while towing. So does RVing make road tolls more expensive?
Today, we’ll look at one fee that most drivers love to hate and how it could impact your RVing experience. Let’s dive in!
What Are Toll Roads?
A toll road is a road that charges drivers a fee. Funds generated from collecting tolls typically go toward maintaining roads or recouping construction costs.
Because these roads have a price, they’re often faster and less congested than other roads. However, that’s not always the case.
How Do Tolls Work?
Building and maintaining roads isn’t cheap, and some governing agencies will collect tolls to help offset the costs. This is a generally fair and effective way of covering the expenses for the road, with the funds it generates by drivers using the road. If you want to minimize the financial impact of the road on your bank account, you can choose a route that avoids the toll road altogether.
There are various ways agencies collect tolls. Technology has made it easy for authorities to collect fees from drivers. This could be through transponders on a vehicle’s windshield, cameras that can read license plates, or other high-tech gadgets. Drivers set up an account and attach a credit card or bank account where they charge the tolls.
In addition, many toll locations will have booths where drivers can pay cash to an attendant. These attendants and booths are helpful for drivers who may rarely use the toll roads or are passing through the area, and setting up an account wouldn’t be necessary.
Are RVs Allowed on Toll Roads?
Authorities typically allow RVs on toll roads unless the road has weight, width, or height restrictions. Drivers of larger vehicles may face lane restrictions, but this is usually a minor inconvenience.
It’s essential to research your route before hitting the road to avoid any potential complications. However, semi-trucks, buses, and other large vehicles, including RVs, frequently use most toll roads.
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Does RVing Make Road Tolls More Expensive?
Unfortunately, RVing makes road tolls more expensive. Most toll roads will have rates that vary by the number of axles a vehicle has (RV axles are counted as well). For example, crossing New York’s Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge ranges from $5.75 to $7.48 for most passenger vehicles. This may not seem all that bad, especially if you’re passing through the area. However, wait until you see what the fees are for some RVers.
Fees for this bridge change by the type of vehicle and how many axles it has. A motorhome with three axles can cost almost $14. If you have a motorhome with four axles, you could pay more than $16. A trip across Cuomo Bridge for a driver towing a large fifth-wheel or travel trailer can cost over $27.
While avoiding some tolls can cost you more in gas or fuel than it’s worth, this is an example of a toll where you’ll need to run the numbers for your specific situation. Unfortunately, there are very few options for crossing the Hudson River. It’s one expense that drivers, especially RVers, in this area have to factor into their budgets.
Why Do RVs Have to Pay More Than Cars on Toll Roads?
Toll roads charge increased rates to larger vehicles, including RVs, because they typically increase street wear more than standard passenger vehicles. Roads with high traffic from large vehicles require increased maintenance and repairs. Charging larger vehicles a heftier price is only fair since they’re primarily responsible for the reduced life of the road.
The funds collected typically go directly toward recouping costs for the construction and maintenance of the road. Collecting the fees helps ensure that the agency responsible for maintaining the streets can do so on an as-needed or specific frequency.
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How Many States in the US Have Toll Roads?
There are toll roads in 36 states or territories in the United States. They combine for more than five thousand miles of toll roads. However, the location of each varies considerably.
States experiencing high traffic levels frequently look for ways to offset repairs and maintenance costs, including collecting tolls. States like Florida, California, and New York have the most toll roads and some of the most expensive toll fees.
Which State Has the Least Toll Roads?
While there are 36 states or territories with tolls, 15 US states and the District of Columbia do not have any toll roads. These states include Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
However, check any unfamiliar roads you’re considering while traveling, as this list could change to a state’s financial needs.
Is It Worth Taking Your RV on a Toll Road?
Sometimes your travel plans will require you to bite the bullet and pay the fees of a toll road. There may not be another convenient option to save you enough money to make it worth it. While toll roads are seemingly rare out west, if you plan to RV in the northeast and New England area, you should prepare to feel like you’re constantly paying tolls.
Some RVers spend hundreds of dollars in tolls while exploring New England. Get an EZ Pass or a transponder that works for most toll agencies in the states you’ll traverse in your RV. Don’t let a few tolls stop you from having an incredible RVing adventure.
Have you ever been hit by a high toll road fee? Tell us how much you paid in the comments!
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