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Old September 29th, 2017, 10:18 PM   #37101
rudiwien
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Originally Posted by bogdymol View Post
In Portugal I got a transponder in the car, from the car rental company. While passing at each toll point, my co-pilot (wife) noted down the amount that was written, as we wanted to see how much will it add up. There were about 60 or 70 Euros as we traveled from the south coast up to Porto, with some detours. Surprisingly, the car rental company only invoiced us for about 60% the total amount we though we will have to pay. I have no idea why, but I haven't complained
I'll have to test it again on a new continent in about a month...

Normally you pay a daily fee for these transponders, though. So while it is a nice service, it also isn't free.

In any case, i can report similar things from Portugal, they are notoriously slow in analysing and billing the tolls. I once had also the case that I was really charged too little, though other times, I was simply charged around 8 (!) months later. That's while they have for most of their toll services written that within 48 hours, you see the toll appear, and you can actually pay for it in a tobacco shop. Well, sometimes, especially on the A22 in southern Portugal, it can take 2 weeks for the tolls to appear.. And it might be that then someone else (like the next renter) pays them for you...

One crappy thing in Portugal with the tolls is that you can pay them online, but normally you need a Portuguese phone number to do so. So I normally have to ask friends that are from Portugal to help me out.. :-)
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Old September 29th, 2017, 10:25 PM   #37102
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When I was in Australia I accidentally drove over a tolled bridge in Brisbane without a transponder. However, it wasn't a big deal since I could've paid it at a gas station.
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Old September 29th, 2017, 11:06 PM   #37103
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Originally Posted by rudiwien View Post
I actually know some people that were involved in building the tolling system for that bridge. It is part of a greater scheme, where they doubled the bridge close to the city (on i65), and built a new bridge on i265.

Generally I also dislike tolls that can only be paid with these transponders, that makes it unnecessarily hard for the occasional user. And online payment when putting in the license plate works in some places, is relatively easy, so there is no reason to not offer that solution...
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Originally Posted by bogdymol View Post
I have a different, positive for me, experience with road tolls with rented cars.

When I rented a car in USA, I drove on the famous San Francisco Bay Bridge, which is tolled. I paid it online, based on car registration, and it was ok.

I also drove in Miami area on some tolled highways, and the only reasonable option was to let it go through the car rental company. One year later, they still haven't asked for any money for that.

In Portugal I got a transponder in the car, from the car rental company. While passing at each toll point, my co-pilot (wife) noted down the amount that was written, as we wanted to see how much will it add up. There were about 60 or 70 Euros as we traveled from the south coast up to Porto, with some detours. Surprisingly, the car rental company only invoiced us for about 60% the total amount we though we will have to pay. I have no idea why, but I haven't complained

I'll have to test it again on a new continent in about a month...
I'm guessing the number of drivers who pass through these North American transponder-only tolls that aren't from North America is proportionally tiny, and they're pretty much all using North American rentals. And it's up to your renter how they want to handle it. Maybe they can get your authorization in advance to charge things like tolls to whatever card you used to pay; maybe they can bill you; maybe they can decide it's not worth the trouble and just eat the cost themselves.

Also, tolling agencies that want to have a transponder-only toll should at least not treat non-transponder users as if they've done something wrong. Bill them the normal rate, no penalty and no administrative fee. If you're too cheap to staff a tollbooth that's your problem.
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Old September 29th, 2017, 11:09 PM   #37104
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Originally Posted by rudiwien View Post
Normally you pay a daily fee for these transponders, though. So while it is a nice service, it also isn't free.

In any case, i can report similar things from Portugal, they are notoriously slow in analysing and billing the tolls. I once had also the case that I was really charged too little, though other times, I was simply charged around 8 (!) months later. That's while they have for most of their toll services written that within 48 hours, you see the toll appear, and you can actually pay for it in a tobacco shop. Well, sometimes, especially on the A22 in southern Portugal, it can take 2 weeks for the tolls to appear.. And it might be that then someone else (like the next renter) pays them for you...

One crappy thing in Portugal with the tolls is that you can pay them online, but normally you need a Portuguese phone number to do so. So I normally have to ask friends that are from Portugal to help me out.. :-)
You shouldn't (in my opinion) have to go to a shop to pay your tolls (like you have nothing else to do), and - given Schengen and all - you shouldn't have to have a phone number in the country. Not that anyone asked me.

- end soapbox mode -
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Old September 30th, 2017, 01:53 AM   #37105
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Of course I can understand that you, living far away and hardly using your own car in Europe, think primarily about rental cars.
However, I think it's an important issue for European drivers as well. From my home I can drive in less than two hours to four different countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. I drive not very much abroad but sometimes I simply have no idea whether I'm right or I am not.
I speak neither French nor Dutch (OK, written Dutch is often clear for people who speak English and German).
And it's not only about environmental restrictions, although those may be very tricky, but tolls as well. In the Netherlands motorways are basically not tolled but there are some short tolled tunnels and bridges where you not always can pay the toll there in cash or by credit card but you must register yourself previuosly at I don't know which organization...
And open borders make the situation even more complicated. You must carefully plan your route, you may not follow the instructions of navigation because it may suggest you a route partially abroad when you simply try to avoid a congestion or looking for the shortest way.
I drove from Antwerp to Germany. I followed the signs "Aken / Aachen". And, fully unexpected, staying on the same motorway, I saw the sign "Nederlands". So suddenly I was in another country, absolutely unintended. OK, this time it was OK but there could be some environmental regulation or unavoidable toll which you can not pay at the location...

I had something like this in Chicago area.
In (99% of) the USA, people use 1 USD paper bills (George Washington). Coins are only for 0,25 / 0,10 / 0,05 and 0,01 USD.

In Chicago there are many toll booths at the exit ramp of the motorway without people to take the money, or a credit card machine, only a basket into which you throw coins. The price, something like 1,00 or 2,00 USD but only $1 coins accepted !
I never even saw one of these coins in my life... I think most Americans outside of that region either. Surely a bank would have no idea.
So I just hit the gas and drove through the toll booth
But there is a camera watching you!

It seems Illinois will pursue you (since my license plates were foreign) if they catch three pictures of you. So I did it once when going to my hotel by accident. And second time, leaving the hotel, on purpose
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:24 AM   #37106
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Can't you use just four 25 cents coins for a 1 dollar fee?

It's weird to have the same value of money existing simultaneously in both a note and a coin.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:42 AM   #37107
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Originally Posted by Kanadzie View Post
I had something like this in Chicago area.
In (99% of) the USA, people use 1 USD paper bills (George Washington). Coins are only for 0,25 / 0,10 / 0,05 and 0,01 USD.

In Chicago there are many toll booths at the exit ramp of the motorway without people to take the money, or a credit card machine, only a basket into which you throw coins. The price, something like 1,00 or 2,00 USD but only $1 coins accepted !
I never even saw one of these coins in my life... I think most Americans outside of that region either. Surely a bank would have no idea.
So I just hit the gas and drove through the toll booth
But there is a camera watching you!

It seems Illinois will pursue you (since my license plates were foreign) if they catch three pictures of you. So I did it once when going to my hotel by accident. And second time, leaving the hotel, on purpose
Ah, the dollar-coin idiocy.

Yes, the U.S. Mint has made several attempts over the years to introduce $1 coins...but they never bite the bullet and abolish the dollar bill. Which is a lot more convenient (My pockets get significantly heavier after a day of spending cash in Canada or Europe than they do here, just because of all those $1 (Cdn.) and $2 or 1- and 2-euro coins), and people are used to it. As a result, dollar coins pile up in banks while the public goes on spending paper. SO periodically some transit agency comes up with the bright idea of stocking their vending machines with dollar coins and giving them out in change (buy a $1.50 subway fare with a $5 bill, get back three $1 coins and two quarters, that sort of thing). ONLY accepting those is just one step farther (and I question whether it's legal to reject other denominations of U.S. currency). I'd never heard of Illinois doing this at the Tollways; since I have E-ZPass, I would be using that. But it doesn't surprise me.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 02:47 AM   #37108
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Can't you use just four 25 cents coins for a 1 dollar fee?

It's weird to have the same value of money existing simultaneously in both a note and a coin.
You should be able to use whatever coins add up to what you have to pay. I'm sure I've paid tolls, before I had E-ZPass, where I tossed a bunch of coins into the basket; it would take a couple of seconds to count and make sure you'd put in the right amount, then the arm would raise and let you go.

See my previous post for why we still have $1 coins and $1 bills. (Honestly, I'm not sure what the current $1 coin is, they're so rare....)

My father, who was...quirky...used to (when he was retired and had free time) go to the bank once in a while and get a bunch of dollar coins and spend them. To the bemusement of the bank tellers and the annoyance of shopkeepers, I'm sure. He always said he was doing his part to help get them into circulation. When I get a dollar coin - say in change from one of those transit agencies that does that - I'll spend it as soon as possible. I figure the newsstands or food places in a station where you'll be getting dollar coins in change will be used to seeing them....
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Old September 30th, 2017, 09:35 AM   #37109
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Is the U.S. an exception with a bill for money with a low value like $ 1? The lowest Euro bill is € 5. The downside of bills for low denominations is that they wear out very fast and have to be replaced all the time. Coins last almost forever, but are indeed bulky.

I almost never carry cash with me. I have a phone case with my debit card + driver's license + vehicle registration, so I don't usually have an actual wallet on me anymore, except on international trips where I need to have my credit card and some cash.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 10:10 AM   #37110
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Here in Norway you don't need cash, every minor street food stand has a portable chip card sales terminal (connected through their smartphones via bank apps). I have never had any use for cash kroner here so far.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 10:13 AM   #37111
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I remember when I was in Stockholm that I paid for a hot-dog with my credit card. I have no idea how Swedish money look like as I didn't have to use cash at all while I was there.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 10:26 AM   #37112
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I signed up for the "easy toll" system in Portgual. There are machines at some motorway border crossings to Spain. Your license plate is scanned and you just have to insert your credit card. Some toll was charged automatically, sometimes I had to pay with my credit card at toll booths.

I drove on a tolled section in Vancouver, Canada in 2013. It should have been paid online but I didn't. I got a bill from the rental car agency sent home. It was about 5..10 €/$...
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Old September 30th, 2017, 10:33 AM   #37113
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Originally Posted by bogdymol View Post
I remember when I was in Stockholm that I paid for a hot-dog with my credit card. I have no idea how Swedish money look like as I didn't have to use cash at all while I was there.
I wanted to pay a drink at a vendor machine in 2008. It was at a costumer's plant. I had no cash but the customer gave me money. I draw some Swedish krona afterwards and kept 5kr to be prepared if I ever arrive in Sweden again without having the chance to draw money first but... I was there 3 times again and never ever used cash anymore. I always paid by credit card. Even for ice cream in the streets. Once, the booth didn't accept creadit cards but I could pay with Euro (I didn't remember that I have 5kr in my wallet).
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Old September 30th, 2017, 10:36 AM   #37114
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The figure of 760 million cars in the world is grossly underestimated. In 2014 (one year after that article) there were 1.2 billion cars estimated in the world.
Sure. I just wanna point out that the car emmissions discussion is... popular. Just popular. On the other hand, there are a lot of emmission procuder no one cares... There are also coal power plants...

The discussion is not rational but simplified and ideological.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 12:02 PM   #37115
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Some of the commenters to the article I posted were pointing out that a decade ago their politicians were encouraging diesel. If that's true (I don't know because I'm not there...), I can see how it would be annoying to have bought a diesel then and now be treated as if you did something wrong.
Politicians in Germany encouraged diesel even in 2017.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 12:12 PM   #37116
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Sure. I just wanna point out that the car emmissions discussion is... popular. Just popular. On the other hand, there are a lot of emmission procuder no one cares... There are also coal power plants...

The discussion is not rational but simplified and ideological.
I disagree - at least partially. About CO2 and global warming you're right, I think. However by NOx, PM10, PM2.5, and partially even CO2, it's really an important difference whether they are emissioned somewhere in the middle of nowhere or direct in city centers, let millions of people inhalating them almost directly.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 12:17 PM   #37117
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Politicians in Germany encouraged diesel even in 2017.
Yes, buy new Diesel to get rid off old Diesel engines... And I absolutely agree but don't think so just because I work for THE Diesel company no.1 (I'm not involved in development of these components) but because I see no better alternative engines for trucks and - again - I think there are more critical emission producer no one cares...
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Old September 30th, 2017, 12:19 PM   #37118
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I disagree - at least partially. About CO2 and global warming you're right, I think. However by NOx, PM10, PM2.5, and partially even CO2, it's really an important difference whether they are emissioned somewhere in the middle of nowhere or direct in city centers, let millions of people inhalating them almost directly.
True. But modern Diesel engines are quite clean...
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Last edited by MichiH; September 30th, 2017 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Remove some bullshit... :-)
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Old September 30th, 2017, 12:22 PM   #37119
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btw: If combustion engines would be totally replaced by electric engines, the next problem will be tire wear...
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Which new motorways are currently under construction?
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See 'New motorway projects' thread

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Old September 30th, 2017, 12:31 PM   #37120
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Often you'll read about how real-world emissions are x times higher than the limit. While this sounds serious, the limits are now extremely low compared to the first 3 euro emission standards.
I have been reading your posts in this forum for more than seven years. And it's the very first case when I absolutely disagree.
I try to explain why.
Emssions in street traffic are higher than in the test. It is well known and it's OK, the whole system was designed so. Test enviroments are near to perfect - street traffic enviroments are not. No surprise.
However, it is a real surprise that the real, street traffic NOx emission of Euro 5 diesels are usually significantly higher than the street traffic emission of Euro 4 diesels. NOx limit for Euro4 was 250 mg/km, for Euro5 180mg/km. But real world emission was not decreased but, on the contrary, increased.
Simply because car manufacturers started to cheat with AdBlue. They made an illegal agreement about having no more than 8l tanks of AdBlue (16l in he US) and in order not to force motorists to reload it more often than once a year, cheated by adding AdBlue (it has some other name in North America, but the same substance). They built in some sensors and added the expected amount of AdBlue only in the test, but not on the street.
Even some Euro6 diesel cars have NOx emissions above 500 mg/km which is more than the limit for a bus, and a lot of Euro5 have emissions above 900 mg/km which is about two times higher than the Euro VI limit for a bus and much higher than the Euro3 limit for a car.

(I could explain it even more detailed, but I think no one is interested :-))

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