Love them or loathe them (and we’re not sure why you’d love them!) toll roads are a part of everyday life when driving in some parts of Australia.
When it’s your own car, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll be responsible for paying the charges – but if you’re renting a car, you’d be forgiven for not knowing how it works.
So, if you’ve been wondering, ‘how do you pay for tolls in a rental car?’, read on for everything you need to know about paying tolls when driving a hired car in Australia.
What are tolls?
Tolls are fees that are charged for driving on particular roads. In Australia, there are currently 16 toll roads, all of which are electronically monitored (e-Tolls).
All tolls are located in the eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria – mostly in the cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – and are designed to create revenue for road construction and maintenance.
Charges apply to all vehicles, including rental cars, but the amount you’re charged can vary depending on certain factors, including the vehicle class, distance travelled and time of day.
How do you pay tolls?
A popular way to pay tolls is to set up a Linkt account. Linkt covers all the tolls in Australia and offers the option to pay a toll notice, buy a pass for one-off travel, or choose from several account types, including e-Tag and non-tag options.
One of the easiest ways to pay tolls in Australia is with an e-Tag. This involves placing a small electronic device in your car (the e-Tag), which is picked up by the e-Toll and matched to your account when you pass.
Alternatively, you can choose the tag-free option, which works on vehicle registration recognition and involves a small vehicle matching fee each time you pass through a toll.
With both options, you add your payment details to your account so that you are charged automatically and don’t need to worry.
Be aware that as all Australian tolls are monitored electronically, you cannot pay cash.
How to pay tolls for rental cars
When renting a car, you should confirm with the rental company what their procedure is for paying tolls, before taking the car. Each company will have their own policy.
Most car rental companies fit their cars with e-Tags, so you don't need to worry about pre-paying through a Linkt rental account or other means.
Instead, the rental company will invoice you after you return the car, and likely take payment via the same method you used to pay for the vehicle, such as your credit or debit card.
They may also charge an admin or service fee on top of the toll. These extra charges can quickly add up, so make sure you’re aware of them in advance, so you can factor them in.
At Car Next Door, all our cars have e-Tags pre-installed. Our system will automatically work out who was renting the car when the toll passed and forward the charge to you.
Billing usually occurs within 48 hours, but can take up to 1 month, if the car owner or toll provider sends this information to us later.
Don’t worry, even if there’s a delay, we’ll know who had the car at the time it went through the toll – check out how tolls are charged to the right person for more information.
Are tolls included in rental cars?
No, tolls aren't usually included in rental cars. The car rental company will invoice you for the charges and you'll be responsible for paying them.
How do you pay tolls in a rental car in Australia?
The rental company will usually have an e-Tag installed in the car to record your toll charges. They'll bill you via the same payment method you used to hire the car.
How do I pay a rental car toll in Sydney?
You'll know you’ve gone through a toll in Sydney if you pass a green sign with a yellow rectangle containing the word ‘TOLL’.
Bear in mind that tolls in Sydney can change – for example, the Sydney Harbour Bridge toll fee varies from $2.50 to $4, depending on the time of the day.
Generally the car rental company will automatically record and bill you for any toll charges whilst you’re driving the car in Sydney.
Can I use my toll tag in a rental car?
Usually, the rental company will have their own e-Tag installed. However, it’s always worth checking, as this could save you money on fees.
If the rental company does allow you to use your personal e-Tag in a rental car, you can simply add the registration of the rental car to your e-Toll account and use your e-Tag as normal.
Any toll travel within the time specified will be applied to your account. Make sure to keep your e-Tag in the rental car, to avoid video matching fees.
It's important to only do this if the rental company explicitly says you can – otherwise you risk being charged twice if they have an e-Tag installed.
How much are rental car toll charges?
Rental car toll charges are the same as those for car owners. However, you can end up paying more, as the car hire company may charge an additional administration fee to cover their processing costs and/or a service fee, for every day you used a toll road.
To estimate the cost of your journey in advance, use a toll calculator and check the fees charged by the car rental company. Happy road tripping!
Information included in this article is accurate as of (11 July 2022).