Tips for using a Sun Pass on a Rental Car in Florida

I just returned from a 10-day trip through Florida. We used Thrifty Car Rental, and their counter people put the really hard screws down on their toll service. The cost of the service is outrageous ($10.49/day) and they threaten you with even crazier charges ($25.00 plus charges for each toll both) if you choose not to take their program.

There is a much more sensible choice that they won't tell you about.

You can get a Florida Sun Pass portable transponder at numerous locations. I got mine at a Walgreens in Destin, FL. It was $20 plus tax.

Once you purchase the transponder, you can register it online, place an initial balance in your account, and attach a credit card so your account replenishes automatically, as needed, as you drive.

At the end of my trip, I was able to deactivate the transponder, close my account, and request a refund to be applied back to my card.

Thrifty quoted me about $85 for the cost of their toll program. By instead purchasing a Sun Pass portable transponder, I ended up driving in Florida for about 8 days for a total cost of $32, including the cost of the transponder.

If you are planning a trip to Florida and your car rental company has onerous charges for their toll program, the way Thrifty Car Rental does, I recommend just purchasing your own Sun Pass transponder.


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I paid Advantage for the pass

I paid Advantage for the pass in Colorado. It seems the new tollway around Denver keys off license plate numbers. (Aha!) After a bit of checking, I see that they key of license plates *if you don't have a transponder*. Ah, but wait:

"Some rental car agencies equip their cars with a non-removeable ExpressToll transponder. If so, the customer is automatically opted-in to the rental agency's toll plan. Please contact the rental car agency directly if you have any questions."

So, you may have no other option in Colorado. Nice scam, eh?