With all the financial challenges trucking continues to face – high diesel prices, soft freight rates, increasing insurance and labor costs – there is one you may not have thought about. And it may be increasing faster than all the rest.

Toll costs.

Some of the toll increases may not appear startling, given overall recent cost spirals. Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike increased 5% in early January. The New York Thruway is planning a 5% toll increase in 2024, while tolls on the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey moved higher in the first part of 2023. The Central Texas toll road system took a not-so-modest increase of 8.2% – a hike put on pause by its own commission as being perhaps too aggressive. Six different toll roads in Illinois have 2023 increases planned… and so on. You get the picture.

But you may not need to take the full brunt of toll increases. You do not need to bear the burden of the toll differential every system imposes on toll-by-plate transactions. You can save money on tolls by using a transponder. The same transponder you use to bypass weigh stations.

Because of costs, most toll roads have done away with manned toll booths and most entry and exit gates. The world of “all-electronic-tolling,” or AET, offers uninterrupted travel on toll roads and removes the danger of lane changes and merging traffic caused by toll booths.

Toll roads now use two systems to assess their charges: 1) “toll by plate,” where a camera or video records the license plate number, while in-road loops measure the number of axles and roadside readers look at vehicle length and height; and 2) “toll by transponder,” where all the vehicle characteristics and the account to be billed are captured electronically.

Toll roads charge more for “toll by plate” transactions due to their higher administrative costs – matching blurry or obscured license plate photos to vehicle ownership records and mailing invoices in the hope they will be paid. Also, non-payment of “toll by plate” bills is six times higher than the inability to collect from transponder users.

As the Maryland Toll Authority, which offers a choice of video tolling or transponder use, says on its website: “Video toll rates are 1.5 times the base toll rates… Video toll rates are the highest rates to offset the higher cost of processing video tolls.”

Toll rates continue going up. But you can contain your toll costs, and enjoy many other benefits, by using a transponder, like the PrePass Plus transponder from PrePass.

With PrePass Plus, you not only receive the lower cost benefit of “toll by transponder,” but you also receive one invoice for all the toll facilities you use, with toll charges posted online for you to see the same or next day as billed by the toll authority. No more waiting for multiple invoices in the mail; you can manage your toll costs in near-real time. PrePass Plus also automatically passes on any applicable toll volume discounts to you. And PrePass Plus comes with powerful INFORM Tolling software at no extra charge. INFORM Tolling gives you a heads-up on questionable tolls, so you can take immediate action to challenge mistakes.

Tolls are going up in 2023. Stay ahead of the curve with PrePass Plus.

The PrePass blog and podcasts are published as a public service of PrePass®, the most reliable and technologically advanced weigh station bypass and integrated electronic trucking toll payment platform in North America. PrePass also includes INFORM™ Safety and INFORM™ Tolling software for improving truck safety scores and lowering toll costs.