Toll roads in Florida – pay attention, you do not want to start your vacation by paying a fine.
There are two ways of breezing through the toll stations without stopping (and saving some money at the same time):

  • A toll-by-plate deal with the car rental agency.
  • Buying your own Sunpass transponder.
Toll roads
©WIKICOMMONS

In most areas in Florida you can still stop and pay cash toll. But be alert as soon as you approach Miami, you will find that several highways have abonded the tollbooths and are operated automatically.

For several years FloridaUSAguide has been aware of the confusion surrounding Florida toll roads, how to pay and what to watch out for. Until recently we claimed that cash works everywhere, and it still applies in most parts of Florida.

Despite most toll roads accepting cash payment we nowadays recommend either a toll deal or a Sunpass for several reasons:

  • More favorable deals offered by most car rental agencies (see more information further down).
  • Lower toll costs (with Sunpass actually offering a better deal than toll-by-plate).
  • No queuing, no stopping, no need to always have coins handy in the car.

Most agencies have good deals for toll roads

When we first noticed many Miami highways becoming fully automated it was obvious the rental car agencies tried to make the most money possible from their clients. The agreements were horrendous, almost absurd. Today most companies have acceptable agreements.

Do I need a toll deal if only driving in Orlando and along the west coast?
Not really, but you will be more comfortable when you approach the areas few toll stations.

How do I handle the automated toll roads in the Miami area?
You need a toll-by-plate deal or a Sunpass. In fact, with some agencies you are not even given the chance to opt out.

Do I need Sunpass/toll-by-plate on Florida Turnpike?
No, not if you don´t drive further south than Fort Lauderdale.
Yes, if you get close to Miami and especially if your destination is Key West since the turnpike is by far the best option to get there.

What if I pick up the car at Miami International Airport and prefer to buy my own Sunpass since I do not want to sign with an agency which has an expensive deal?
Find a route to the nearest Sunpass retailer, buy a Sunpass Mini or Sunpass Portable. According to Sunpass the transponder can not be used until the day after the device is being activated, which means you really have to avoid the unmanned toll roads when driving to your hotel. (However, I have seen information that it is possible to re-register after you have passed a toll station, this is not confirmed information.)

READ MORE: Guide to cheapest gas prices in Florida

Toll-by-plate deals with rental car agencies for toll roads

There are really expensive deals – avoid them!
The bargain deals do not cost more than $ 16.75, others just under $ 20.00 – that’s what to chose!

There are four different types of agreements for Florida toll roads.
We are not responsible for any regional disparities, as well as changes made after this article was last updated.

Toll roads
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Hertz

Dollar
& Thrifty

Avis
& Budget

National, Alamo
& Enterprise

Cost:
$ 4.95 per day plus toll fees. Max $ 24.75 for one month (30 days).
Terms:
You do not have to decide anything when you pick up the car, since the agreements is not activated until the first time you enter a toll road.

Cost:
$ 10.49 fixed fee per day, with a maximum of $ 52.49 per week.
Terms:
You must decide when picking up the car. If you choose to waive and end up passing a toll station during your rental period, you will be charged quite a lot.

Cost:
$ 3.95 per day plus toll fees. Max $ 16.75 for one month (30 days).
Terms:
The agreement is automatically included in the car rental.

Cost:
$ 3.95 per day and max $ 19.75 in total fee per rental period, plus toll costs.
Terms:
You do not have to decide when you pick up the car, the agreement is active from the time you first enter a toll road.

Important to remember about Florida toll roads:

Do not be confused by different names on the fast lanes, in Florida everything works on the same terms, no matter what the lanes are called – like “SunPass Only”, “E-PASS Only” or “LeeWay Only”.

The same applies to the different names of the agreement. Example: You encounter expressions like Sunpass, Toll by plate, Rent a toll, PlatePass, eToll, TollPass and other variants.

Part of the above price information is from Sunpass’s own website and relates to the rental car companies Rentalcars primarily deals with.

Sunpass Portable if you visit often

If you visit Florida often, you might want to consider buying your own Sunpass. Here are the options:

  • A Sunpass Mini is perfect for a normal visitor, costs $ 4.99 plus tax.
  • The Sunpass Portabale can be used by different vehicles and is a choice for the frequent visitor. This portable transponder costs $ 19.99.

Sunpass retailers:
Publix Super Markets, CVS Pharmacy Stores, Amscot and AAA Insurance Office. Sunpass can also be purchased at Navarro Pharmacies and Sedano’s Supermarkets in Broward and Miami-Dade. Also at all Florida Turnpike service plazas, Turnpike gas stations and, SunPass Service Centers.
A Sunpass transponder can not be shipped overseas.

PETER SUNESON

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