Does E-ZPass Work in Colorado? Exploring Toll Payment Options

You might be wondering if your E-ZPass will work for tolls in Colorado. While E-ZPass is a convenient form of electronic toll payment in many states, it is not accepted in Colorado.

Instead, Colorado has its own system, ExpressToll, which provides similar benefits for drivers on Colorado’s toll roads and express lanes.

If you’re planning a trip that includes driving through Colorado, you’ll want to be prepared with the right form of toll payment to ensure a smooth journey.

E-ZPass Compatibility in Colorado

If you’re planning to drive through Colorado toll roads, understanding how your E-ZPass is recognized will smooth your journey.

ExpressToll and E-470

E-ZPass is not directly accepted on the E-470 toll road, which circles around the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area. However, you can use an ExpressToll pass, which is the dedicated electronic toll collection system in place on this road. To avoid unexpected toll fees, ensure you have an active ExpressToll account or pay via the License Plate Toll option.

Northwest Parkway and Compatibility

Similarly, the Northwest Parkway—a connector between E-470 and U.S. 36—is not compatible with E-ZPass. If you possess an ExpressToll pass, you’ll seamlessly be able to travel on this road. Otherwise, make sure you’re familiar with the License Plate Toll method to cover the toll costs.

License Plate Toll

In the absence of an E-ZPass or ExpressToll pass, your toll payment can be processed through License Plate Toll. This system captures an image of your vehicle’s license plate as you pass through the toll plaza and an invoice is sent to the registered owner’s address. You can then pay online, by mail, or over the phone. It’s a convenient method for those visiting Colorado or those without a compatible electronic toll pass.

Paying Tolls in Colorado

Navigating the toll system in Colorado can be straightforward once you’re familiar with the various roads, payment methods, and available discounts. Here’s what you need to know to ensure a smooth journey.

Toll Roads and Prices

Colorado offers several toll roads including E-470, the Northwest Parkway, and Express Lanes which stretch along major highways providing a quicker travel option. The toll prices vary based on your chosen road, with dynamic pricing on Express Lanes that adjusts according to traffic conditions to maintain steady flow. Fixed rates apply on other toll roads.

Payment Options: Transponders and License Plates

You have two main options to pay tolls: using a transponder like the ExpressToll Sticker Pass or License Plate Tolling. Transponders are cost-effective and linked directly to your prepaid account, while License Plate Tolling incurs an additional fee as it captures an image of your license plate and mails the bill to you.

  • ExpressToll: Efficient and prepaid system
  • License Plate Tolling: Bill by mail with additional fees

Renting Cars and Toll Fees

When you rent a car, inquire with your rental car agency about the payment of tolls. Some agencies offer rental transponders or include toll fees in the rental agreement. This makes dealing with toll roads more convenient but may include extra fees.

Creating an ExpressToll Account

To use a transponder or gain access to Express Lanes, establish an ExpressToll account. You’ll need to prepay with a major credit card or via a cash payment option, starting with a balance for future tolls which also covers the cost of the transponder.

  • Sign-up online or in-person
  • Initial prepay of $35

HOV3+ Transponder and Discounts

For carpool benefits, get a HOV3+ Transponder. This switchable transponder allows you to drive on Colorado Express Lanes for free when meeting the HOV requirements. A great choice for regular commuters to enjoy discounts and save time.

  • HOV3+ Transponder: Ideal for carpools
  • Requires an ExpressToll account to use

Your travel in Colorado can be hassle-free and possibly less costly if you utilize the toll payment options to your advantage. Make sure to set up your ExpressToll account or familiarize yourself with your rental car’s toll policies before hitting the road.

Colorado Toll Road System

Colorado’s toll road system is unique and it’s important for you to understand how it works, especially if you’re using devices like EZ Pass. Here’s a breakdown of the toll roads across the state and how they affect your drive.

Colorado’s Toll Road Map

Colorado has a network of toll roads that provide a quicker commute and less congestion. Your journey may intersect with roads like E-470, C-470, or the I-70 Mountain Corridor. To help plan your route, reference the interactive map provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

E-470 and C-470

E-470 is a 47-mile toll road running along the eastern edge of Denver, connecting with several major highways and offering access to the Denver International Airport. C-470, on the other hand, is a free-to-use highway with some tolled express lanes between I-25 and Wadsworth Boulevard.

I-70 Mountain Corridor Express Lanes

The I-70 Mountain Corridor is known for its Express Lanes, which are tolled lanes designed to ease congestion, particularly during peak travel times in the ski season. These lanes offer a faster alternative when the regular lanes are backed up.

Tolling Points and Facilities

Across the toll roads, you’ll find tolling points where your tolls are automatically collected. These facilities use methods like license plate tolling or ExpressToll passes, which can save you money on tolls compared to paying by mail.

Avoiding Tolls and Routes

If you prefer to avoid tolls, plan alternative routes ahead of time. While the main toll roads in Colorado offer the advantage of speed and reduced congestion, there are non-toll options available that may suit your travel needs just fine.

Remember, Colorado’s toll roads do not accept E-ZPass, so it’s important to know your payment options before you hit the road.


When planning your travel through Colorado, be aware that your E-ZPass isn’t compatible with the toll system in the state. Colorado uses its own system, ExpressToll, for its express lanes. Even if you regularly use E-ZPass in other states, you’ll need to make separate arrangements for paying tolls when in Colorado.

Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate:

  • E-ZPass: Not accepted in Colorado.
  • ExpressToll: Required for Colorado’s toll roads.

For driving in Colorado’s express lanes, consider obtaining an ExpressToll or look into options like the Switchable HOV Transponder if you qualify for carpool benefits.

Remember, being prepared before you hit the road will ensure a smoother and more enjoyable journey. Safe travels!

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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