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Would new tolls on the autobahn have an effect on your travel plans?

Today's news says that Germany is working on new rules that will increase tolls for foreigners using the autobahn:

Does this have any serious implications for your travel in Germany?
Would it move you out of a car and onto a motorbike?
Or maybe encourage you to take local van / small bus tours rather than drive on your own?

Posted by
2725 posts

10€ for a 10 day toll sticker (or a 2 month sticker for 20€). Why would that have serious implications on a multi thousand dollar trip? Austria has been doing this for the longest time. I wouldn't change my mode of travel for an extra 10€.


Posted by
6951 posts

Not at all. Just suck it up and pay'em. When you're paying $8 per gallon, what's a little toll money?

It's still the most efficient way of seeing Europe--even at the price of gasoline. I imagine they'd like some of that $2.01 per gallon gasoline I saw earlier today in Tennessee.

Posted by
4747 posts

10 EUR for 10 days is quite a bargain. It costs me $20 / week in tolls just to commute 9 miles to work.

Posted by
359 posts

Seems kind of unfair but it wouldn't change my travel plans. It's a drop in the bucket compared the cost of the entire European vacation. I also prefer to take side roads when I drive in Europe because I think you get to see more.

Posted by
31530 posts


I use trains or other public transit as much as possible anyway, so the new tolls will have no effect whatsoever on my travels in Germany. Travel by train is usually faster and more efficient (especially with the high speed trains), so I find that a better use of my valuable holiday time.

Posted by
11978 posts

It depends on the amount. Once upon a time I bought rail passes. Eventually price increases pushed me toward other options, point to point tickets, Laender passes, rental/leased car.

Posted by
16883 posts

No force of man or god would move me out of a car and onto a motorbike. I would also be unlikely to switch to local van / small bus tours for more than just a day. My main reason to choose to drive in Germany would be to visit several smaller towns or rural areas that might not be well served by train and also not usually requiring much Autobahn driving.

For towns and cities of any larger size and for longer distances where the Autobahn is a logical choice, I prefer the extensive German train service and the hop-on convenience of the German Rail Pass (which is one of the cheapest passes in Europe for 3 or more days covering any significant distance). When I drove through Germany on a multi-country trip with a long-term car lease, my driving patterns did not change much in France and Italy, which had tolls.

Posted by
1967 posts

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and reaction!
Like Ken, I have generally leaned heavily towards train and public transit
and away from car rental -- until this summer when I was in the area (farther south in France) around
Vaison la Romaine and was envious of the people who could get to the small towns
perched hither and yon directly, rather than wandering circuitously on the bus routes.
It cheers me to hear from RS Laura and others that German train service is so serviceable,
so it becomes a matter of weighing the desire to spend time in more small towns
against the anxiety and expense of a rental car, knowing that if I do give in to fear,
I can still get good experiences by train.

Posted by
1631 posts

Love the freedom and independence of driving, exploring the back roads with non-touristy towns and driving the autobahns--zoom, zoom. Tolls--oh, well.

Posted by
18390 posts

Not me, I'm just the opposite, I love the freedom of being able to do anything I want to - sleep, read, watch scenery, write in my journal, etc, while getting from point A to point B, not being forced to watch the road and traffic. That's real freedom, and I save money to boot.

In this country I can't go anywhere without driving. A vacation in Europe can be a vacation from driving.

BTW, in almost 150 days in Germany, I have always used public transportation and spent 83% of my time in towns under 50,000 people, half of that in towns under 10,000. The need for a car to visit small, untouristy places is a myth, perpetuated by people who don't know how to use the system (and don't want to learn). The Bahn has over 26,000 miles of track and over 5000 train stations in Germany, 1000 of them in Bavaria. RVO (the bus company in southern Bavaria) alone has over 7000 miles of bus lines.

It's one thing to rent a car to get places that you can't get to by public transportation (although I find that that is actually quite unusual), but just doing it to drive fast is not a good reason. This isn't a ride at Disneyland. High speed driving is serious stuff. Because of high speeds on the Autobahn, Germans take a lot more driver training to get a license than we do. If you do drive on the Autobahn, stay to the right with the flow. By the way, I once rode with a German on the Autobahn 320 km from Offenburg to Zweibrücken (2 hrs at 100 mph). It actually was pretty boring - bumper to bumper in both lanes - a lot like Denver to Colo. Springs on a Sunday afternoon, only a little faster.

If you want to feed that speeding urge, take a high speed driving course from professionals.

Posted by
18390 posts

"The European Commission has warned that the new toll may be discriminatory."

I'm sorry, but this is perhaps the stupidest thing I've heard in a long time. Some countries have tolls on their roads and, obviously, therefore, lower taxes on their citizens. Now, Germany wants to follow suit, but it is consider discriminatory?

I think this is discriminatory only because German motorists get some sort of refund in their road fund licence to make up for the new charge - a refund that motorists in the rest of the EU can´t get because they don´t pay their road fund licence in Germany, but rather in their home countries.

By the way, if you drive in Germany in a German-registered rental car, it doesn´t affect you at all because the "vignette" will already be on the car windscreen/windshield. It only affects you, if you enter the country with a foreign-registered vehicle, whether owned or rented.

Posted by
18390 posts

In a sense, all tolls are discriminatory because tolls collected from foreigners pay some of the cost of the roads, which the locals would otherwise have to make up for in taxes. The EU just wants to prevent Germany from doing what France, Italy, etc already do, i.e., put some of the cost of the roads on those who use them.

I do agree, however, that all money from tolls (including countries that already collect tolls) should have to actually go to maintaining the road, not to reducing other taxes paid by citizens.

Posted by
18390 posts

"I have already written why [I think] this is not going to be legal."

The BBC story was kind of vague about how how everyone would be charged for using the Autobahn. It sounded like Germans would have to pay 130€/yr for a toll badge, but non-Germans would be able to purchase a 2 month pass for 20€. If everyone has to be treated equally, then if the only pass was an annual 130€ badge, that would not be discriminatory. Is that what you want?