And How to Save Money on Them Over Spring Break
Have you ever taken a car trip where you spent over $50 in tolls? How about $100? If you have, then it’s likely it was along one of the three routes we’ve depicted above which we’ve determined are the three most expensive toll routes in the US. Travelers along any one of these routes will end up spending over $100 in tolls for a roundtrip journey if paying in cash. Good luck paying these tolls with loose change found in the cup holder!
We identified these expensive toll corridors after analyzing toll costs on over 1,000 trips travelers asked us to calculate for them in advance of their spring break vacations, and you can view examples of them on a special Facebook page we set up to receive and respond to these requests.
Below are what we found to be the three most expensive tolls routes in the US, and we’ve included tips we’ve uncovered for how you can save money along each route. Note that each of these routes are the recommended routes provided by most of the major mapping services including Google Maps, MapQuest, AAA and Nokia, so don’t be surprised if you’re routed on them by your GPS or your smartphone when traveling between any of these cities.
#1. Chicago, IL to Philadelphia, PA (Cost per mile: 9.5 cents)
This route takes you through what were formerly known as the rust belt states, all of which have toll roads including the Illinois Tollway and the Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes. Traveling along this route will cost you $72.65 in cash ($139.10 roundtrip) which means you’ll be paying nearly a dime for every mile you drive on this 760 mile journey.
Toll Saving Tips for a Trip Between Chicago and Philadelphia
One way to save a significant amount of money on this trip is to utilize an iPass or E-ZPass transponder account which reduces your toll costs to $49.88, a savings of $22.97 (31%). You could also save $33.15 (45%) by taking an alternate route via I-80 East into Pennsylvania, which can be further discounted with the use of an iPass or E-ZPass account to $26.42 for a total cost savings of $46.43, or 64% (see maps below).
Note that the alternate route will add an additional 26 minutes onto your trip, but you’ll be saving $1.27 in toll costs for each additional mile you drive.
#2. Chicago, IL to Boston, MA (Cost per mile: 5.1 cents)
This route begins following the same heavily tolled roads as the Chicago to Philly route but diverges at the Pennsylvania border sending you up through New York where you’ll encounter tolls on the New York State Thruway and Massachusetts Turnpike. Tolls along this route will cost you $50.30 cash ($100.60 roundtrip) which means you’ll be paying a over a nickel per mile in tolls over the length of this journey.
Toll Saving Tips for a Trip Between Chicago and Boston
Again, by utilizing an iPass or E-ZPass transponder account you can reduce your cost of tolls on trips between Chicago and Boston to $41.70, a savings of $8.60 (17%). You can also cut your costs to $33.60, a savings of $16.70, (33%) by taking an alternate route through Hamilton, ON in Canada which, combined with an iPass or E-ZPass account, further reduces your toll costs to $31.70 for a total cost savings of $18.60, or 37% (see maps below).
Note that the alternate route will add an additional 18 minutes onto your trip, but you’ll be saving nearly $1 in tolls costs for each additional minute you drive.
#3. Key West, FL to Boston, MA (Cost per mile: 3.7 cents)
This lengthy journey can actually be broken up into two toll corridors, the first of which is through Florida between Homestead and Vero Beach (7.4 cents per mile) and the second between Washington, DC and Boston (11 cents per mile). The rest of the journey is toll free, yet the overall trip will still run you $60.85 in tolls ($103.70 roundtrip) which averages out to 3.7 cents per mile for tolls.
Toll Saving Tips for a Trip Between Key West and Boston
Utilizing both E-ZPass and Florida SunPass transponder accounts will reduce your cost of tolls on trips between Key West and Boston to $53.42, a savings of $7.43 (12%). You could also reduce your costs to $22.00 for a savings of $38.85 (64%) by taking an alternate route through Harrisburg, PA via HWY 15. Driving this route with an E-ZPass and SunPass account further reduces the toll costs to $18.82 for a total cost savings of $42.03, or 69% (see maps below).
Note that the alternate route will add an additional 52 minutes onto your trip, but you’ll be saving 75 cents in toll costs for each additional mile you drive.
Download the Tolls Calculator iPhone & iPad app
Of course the best way to find out how much tolls will cost on an upcoming trip and find ways to save money is to get the Tolls Calculator USA & Canada app for iPhone and iPad. You can download it for free in iTunes and compare the cost of driving different routes and see the cost benefits of utilizing electronic transponders.
Do you have tips for saving money on road trips? Share it with the community by posting it to our Tollquest Facebook Page.