Paying tolls is the duty of drivers in many European countries. Perhaps soon we will also have to pay for using the roads in Germany.
In many European countries, driving on particular roads requires purchasing a vignette and sticking it inside to the windshield. Some countries use electronic vignette or - as in Poland - a charge must be filed at the highway toll gate.
Road tolls in Austria
In Austria, tourists traveling by car (with or without a caravan) choose mostly a 10-day vignette, which costs 8.30 EUR. If you plan to stay in Austria longer, it’s worth to purchase a 2-month vignette in the price of 24.20 EUR. A year vignette costs 80.60 EUR. Vignettes are required on highways and motorways. Additional fees are charged for using certain tunnels and alpine roads.
Vignette in Czech Republic
In Czech Republic vignettes apply on motorways and highways. 10 day vignette costs 310 CZK(about 11,40 EUR), 1-month - 440 CZK, and year vignette - 1500 CZK. Please note that before sticking the vignette, you have to mark on it a current date. Vignette comprises of two parts – one should be stuck on the windshield, the other keep in case of a roadside check.
Tolls in Slovakia
Vignettes also apply in Slovakia. They cost respectively- 10 EUR, 14 EUR and 50 EUR. But be cautious! If you are traveling with a caravan, you need a second vignette - for the caravan (in the same price as for the car). In case of a motorhome with a total weight up to 3.5 t, you need just one vignette for a passenger car.
Road tolls in Hungary
In Hungary, there’s an electronic toll system which requires buying an e-vignette. Instead of the sticker, we get a computer printout with the number of sale. This printout should be kept in case of the roadside check. 10-day vignette for a car weighing up to 3.5 t cost 2,975 HUF (about 9,96 EUR). One month vignette costs 4780 HUF (about 16,00 EUR), and the year 42,980 HUF (about 143,90 EUR). It’s worth mentioning that the buses and motorhomes weighing over 3.5 t require more expensive vignettes, out of which the cheapest, 10 day, costs 13,385 HUF (about 44,81 EUR).
Vignettes in other European countries
Vignettes also apply in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and Moldova. An interesting system works in Norway – it requires a driver’s credit card registration (can be done via the Internet), which will be then charged for drives. The toll can also be paid at gas stations and, in some cases, in toll collection terminals (where an electronic system were not introduced yet).
In most other European countries driving vehicles up to 3.5 t are either free, or paid before entering the motorway. In some countries, you have to pay for using tunnels or bridges.
So far, totally free has been traveling in a passenger car through Germany. However, this may change. The weekly "Der Spiegel" reported recently that German parliamentarians are working on the creation of the law, the purpose of which is the introduction of charges for the use of motorways. According to preliminary ideas, the charges are going to apply only to drivers from abroad. Such a solution would, however, be incompatible with EU regulations, which prohibit discrimination against residents of other EU states.
One solution may be a law consisting in introducing the charges for all drivers, but with the proviso that the person paying the road tax (and therefore melded in Germany) will be exempt from this fee. The last plan is the introduction of vignettes for everybody, but this idea raises a big opposition among the Germans themselves, who have extremely well-developed highway network, and thus the introduction of vignettes would affect almost every household.
However, you can expect that sooner or later the Germans will join the countries that charge a fee for the use of motorways.