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ARG! Why Your Road Trip Might Cost More This Summer - and We're Here to Help

Jo Piazza
Managing Editor
April 30, 2014

You thought you were being a frugal traveler by planning that road trip this summer instead of a fancy vacation abroad? Now it might cost more than you planned.

Changes in toll fees could add up to a higher road-trip budget. (Photo: Hassan Saeed)

On Tuesday, the White House proposed a $302-billion transportation bill that could reverse the long-standing federal prohibition on interstate tolling, which has long kept the majority of the country’s 46,876-mile highway system free to drivers.

The bill would give states the freedom to enact tolls in order to raise revenue to pay for the maintenance of deteriorating transportation infrastructure.  

“We believe that this is an area where the states have to make their own decisions,”  Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told the Washington Post. “We want to open the aperture, if you will, to allow more states to choose to make broader use of tolling, to have that option available.”

There's no reason for alarm just yet. Here are three ways to save money on the road this summer:

1. There is typically a way for the tech-savvy traveler to avoid most tolls (bridges can become tricky).  Most map apps have settings that will help you avoid toll roads altogether. Waze is one of the best for helping to detect tolls and offer alternate routes.

2. With gas prices rising, try one of the new hybrid cars. Our intrepid correspondent Caroline Waxler just tested the 2014 Audi SQ5 quattro Tiptronic for her road trip to upstate New York and loved it.

3. Find the cheapest gas prices with the Gas Buddy app.