I made a small road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco during the last 7 days. I only discovered today that there are tolls to pay on some roads, without any barrier to pay (we have to pay online?). I was driving a rental car.

I don't recall the roads I took, so I might need to pay something.

Here are my questions:

  • How can I know if I took one of those roads? (I don't recall the roads I took.)

  • How can I pay for them?

  • Do I risk something for paying them that late?

  • 2
    Unless you drove in one of the tolled express lanes, which are specially marked (at which point they'd mail you a bill because you're supposed to have a transponder), the only road I can think of with a system like this is the Golden Gate Bridge. Did you cross the Golden Gate Bridge southbound (into San Francisco)? It wouldn't have been on your route to do so unless you actually started in Marin, and even then it would be out of the way. – Zach Lipton May 18 '16 at 23:24
  • I am driving a rented car so I won't receive any bill I think. I didn't cross the Golden Gate Bridge. – Pikachu May 18 '16 at 23:28
  • 1
    If you incur such a toll in a rental car, you will most assuredly receive a bill, from the rental company. The toll authority will bill the company, who will pass the charge on to you. In most cases they'll add a significant surcharge. – phoog May 19 '16 at 2:01
  • As other posters have mentioned, there are no tolls on either I-5 or US-101, the direct routes from Los Angeles to San Francisco. (Nor on the scenic route of Highway 1.) The only toll without a gate is indeed the Golden Gate Bridge southbound, and you would have driven by many warning signs. – Andrew Lazarus May 19 '16 at 2:38

Nowadays, nearly all rental companies offer you the option to handle that for you (for a fee, of course).

By using the road, you took the option.

There are minor differences, but for reference here the National Car Rental rules (forgive me if I am 5 cents off):

  1. You pay all the tolls that are to pay, for the normal price.
  2. Each calendar day you used a toll road, you pay a convenience fee of 4.95 $
  3. The maximum of all convenience fees will not be more than 19.95 $

So if you for example used Toll Roads on three days, you pay the toll itself, plus 3 * 4.95 $.

They will deduct it automatically from the credit card you used to pay the car, and it will be a while (because the Toll road authorities take their time). My experience is between 10 and 40 days.

Either way, there is nothing you need to do. Just accept the charge when it comes on your credit card.


With a rental car, you'd hear from the rental car company eventually if you skipped out on any tolls, usually with a large added fee attached. They'll just bill your credit card.

However, unless you drove down any express lanes, which are toll/carpool lanes that look like this, with big signs showing a price and restrictions, there are no "hidden" tolls along your route.

I am assuming you didn't drive on any of the toll roads in Orange County, which is south of Los Angeles. You can check out a map of those if you were in that area.

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