Re: Motorway tolls

In the February 28 issue of the Algarve Resident, there was a letter with reference to the class charges for a Hyundai Santa Fe on the motorway tolls. We have exactly the same vehicle with a front axle height of 1.1m and we have found out recently that we are being charged on some journeys as Class 1 and on others as Class 2, both on the frequent journeys we do on the A22 and also on a recent trip to Lisbon. We are UK registered so therefore use the one year pre-payment card which I top up on line – we have chosen to use this method of payment due to the fact of Via Verde being able to take money out of our account when you have a transponder and if you have a dispute – which we do – the money has gone and you have the rigmarole of trying to deal with it. I have e-mailed CTT and received the reply to go to our local dealer (whatever that means). Does your auto-editor Guilherme Marques know how we can resolve this issue please or at least point us in the right direction to try to get it resolved?
Sylvia Softley, Castro Marim
By email
Dear Sylvia,
in terms of your question, and as far as my knowledge goes in this area, if your Santa Fe is a 4×4 then you have to be charged Class 2 at tolls. If, on the other hand, it is only front-wheel drive then you meet a special regimen where SUVs are on the same segment as MPVs and therefore pay Class 1.
Toll Classes in Portugal are determined by the vertical height of the front axle. Below 1.1m the vehicles are Class 1, above that they are Class 2 or more.
Nevertheless, if a car – like the Santa Fe – has a front axle measuring above 1.1m but below 1.3m, it can be Class 1 according to the rule I mentioned before as long as it uses Via Verde. With the pre-paid system I am not sure how it works.
You can find some more information regarding this at and they even have it in English.
Please feel free to ask any more questions you might have.
Best regards,
Guilherme Marques,
Motoring Editor