Cheapest Way Around the Most Expensive US Tolls

With PA Turnpike, world's most expensive toll road, several toll bridges and tunnels charging over $5 in tolls, US levies very high tolls.

Some of the US tolls rank among the costliest in the world. Luckily there are cheaper alternatives!

At over $110 for a car traveling the 360-mile long toll road, PA Turnpike is the most expensive toll road in the world per mile! Over 35 of the US states have tolls with several toll bridges and tunnels across them levying above $5 in the tolls. No wonder, dealing with these costliest tolls is an obvious concern for the travelers and businesses alike. Our recent research highlights some of the most burning questions around US tolls like:

Why are these tolls such a big concern? A simple explanation would be, for some of the most travelled routes, these expensive tolls account for 60% to 80% of the travel costs. Let’s look at a ~40 mins long trip from Englewood, NJ to Greenburgh, NY crossing through the George Washington Bridge. For a commuter, it would cost just ~$3 in gas while he would need to pay $13.75 with E-ZPass (at peak hours) or $16, if he doesn’t have E-ZPass (Tolls by Mail).

Similarly, for a Facebook employee, living in Fremont and commuting to the office on the other side of the Dumbarton Bridge, he would pay less than $2 in gas while $6 in tolls! 

Given an option, several of us would prefer a cheaper route. So, let’s first identify the most expensive American toll roads, bridges and tunnels, and then figure out cheaper alternative routes with the help of a popular trip planner — TollGuru.

Top 5 most expensive toll roads in US for cars

Top 5 most expensive toll bridges in US for cars

Toll BridgeToll Tag Rate (in USD)Cash Rate (in USD)
Chesapeake Bay Bridge, VA$14 (E-ZPass)$14
Bayonne Bridge, NY | Goethals Bridge, NY | Outerbridge Crossing, NY$13.75 (E-ZPass NY, E-ZPass NJ)Cash not accepted
George Washington Bridge, NY$13.75 (E-ZPass NY)$16
Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, NY | Throgs Neck Bridge, NY | Triborough Bridge, NY | Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, NY  $6.55 (E-ZPass NY)Cash not accepted
Ambassador Bridge, MI $6.25 (Nexus Tag, A-Pass)$6.25

Top 5 most expensive toll tunnels in US for cars

Toll TunnelToll Tag Rate (in USD)Cash Rate (in USD)
Holland Tunnel, NY$13.75 (E-ZPass NJ)Cash not accepted
Lincoln Tunnel, NY$13.75 (E-ZPass NJ, E-ZPass NJ)$16
Hugh L Carey, NY | Queens Midtown Tunnel, NY$6.55 (E-ZPass NY)Cash not accepted
Detroit–Windsor Tunnel, MI$3.95 (NexPress® tag)Cash not accepted
Baltimore Harbor Thruway Tunnel, MD$3 (E-ZPass MD)Cash not accepted

Do note that when it comes to knowing the exact toll charges for a toll facility in the US, it’s generally not a fixed amount you can refer to. Toll charges vary based on vehicle type, payment method, occupancy, time of the travel (peak/off-peak) and several other factors. If you want to learn more about these toll facilities, refer to US TollWiki.

Now let’s look at what's the cheapest way around for commuters going from Englewood, NJ to Greensburgh, NY taking one  of the most expensive toll bridges: George Washington Bridge in New York.

The cheapest route between Englewood to Greenburgh is not through GW Bridge but Gov. Mario M Cuomo Bridge that saves ~$8 per car trip.

They can take the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge which would cost half in tolls and just take 2 minutes more.

Similarly, for earlier mentioned Facebook employees’ commute, skipping the Dumbarton bridge and going south for a 14 min detour, can save almost $5 per trip.

The route between Fremont to 1 Hacker Way through Dumbarton costs $6 in tolls but a 14 min detour is toll-free and saves ~$5 per car trip.

Depending on where you’re headed, other expensive tolls too, have alternative cheaper routes.. TollGuru Trip Planner (iOS or Android) can help you calculate precise toll costs and travel on the cheapest route to your destination. You just need to specify your origin, destination and vehicle type to see the cheapest, the fastest and other route options. Businesses can integrate the Toll API to optimize fleet trips for toll costs.

Expensive tolls can be part of your daily life or much-awaited road trips. But equipped with the right tool, you can make informed travel decisions and save on toll costs or travel time. Just remember, if it’s tolls, it’s TollGuru!

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