How does one pay tolls on a trip from N. California to Boston? Each state has its own toll collection agency and many states no longer have toll collection booths.

Also, we are driving a motorhome with a car in tow. When we are driving just the car and leaving the motor home parked we don't want to pay the toll for the motorhome. Do we need devices for each vehicle and for each state?

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    You don't pay tolls on the vehicle being towed; only on the vehicle being driven - so if you cross the toll bridge with the car, you'll pay toll on the car - even if the same car was towed across the same bridge by the motorhome. Apr 3, 2017 at 8:31
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    Possibly a very good blog post/website here. Anyone--feel free to mine it for an answer.
    – mkennedy
    Apr 3, 2017 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately there is no unified toll collection system in the US so the answer is "depends". In some places you can pay directly cash at a toll booth per section as you go along. In other places, you need to pull a ticket when you enter and pay when you leave (cash, sometimes credit). These days most collection system also use and electronic transponder and/or plate readers. Transponders require you to have an account. With a plate reader, you can get either sent a bill or can pay the toll on-line. Not all places have a cash option, so you may be forced to use a plate reader.

There can be substantial price differences: transponders tend to be the cheapest. Things can be further complicated if you use a rental car. If you use a plate reader that sends a bill, the rental company may charge you an hefty administrative fee to process the payment for you. They may also offer you a local transponder, but that typically also costs extra. A ride from metro west Boston to the airport runs you about $5 with a registered transponder but could easily be up to $20 or more for a rental car and using the plate reader.

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