It is possible to save money on motorway tolls which rose across France by around 2% on average in February. Here are five ideas.
1. Leave and rejoin the motorway
The precise increase depends on the motorway company and the section you drive on. Short journeys are usually cheaper, and it is perfectly legal to leave the motorway, double back at the nearest opportunity and enter again at the same junction, which can reduce the amount you pay overall. This can add just a few minutes to a trip.
2. Use a route comparison website
Comparison website autoroute-eco.fr has done the sums, and you can see savings and options by entering your journey details.
It estimates you can save €6, for example, on the popular Paris to Bordeaux A10 route by leaving the motorway seven times, with roundabouts nearby to ensure detours are quick. If you do the 590km journey without leaving the motorway, it costs €57 in tolls.
3. Check the price of each motorway section
There are five categories of payment, based on height and weight. Class 1 is for vehicles under 2m and 3.5 tonnes. You can work out the cost yourself by looking up detailed prices for each motorway section on the autoroutes.fr interactive map.
4. Consider money spent on petrol
Online route planners such as viamichelin.com can show if it would be cheaper to bypass toll roads, taking into account petrol consumption.
You could save €17 by avoiding tolls on a 725km journey from Souillac in Lot to Brest in Brittany, although it takes 20 minutes longer.
5. Save with a motorway toll badge
Reductions also exist with some of the motorway toll badges, which get you through booths quicker with an automatic payment system.
The Ulys 30 card, for example, gives 30% off for the same journey driven 20 times (10 times for a return journey) in a month.