How Much Does Car Shipping Cost?

Cars are great at getting us from one place to another but what if we can’t drive the car ourselves on a long distance move? If you need to ship a car to another state or across the country, there are several methods available to get this done.

The most common way to ship a car is by booking transport with a car transport company. These big rig trucks can haul up to 9 vehicles at a time translating into savings compared to having a private driver drive it.

Car transport rates vary depending on the travel mileage. For journeys less than 200 miles, the industry average is around two dollars per mile. If the move is exceeding 1500 miles, the price should drop down to around $.70 per mile.

An enclosed carrier transport is an elite auto shipping service that can provide more protection and security compared to an open carrier however this will come at a premium cost of upwards of 50% more than an open carrier.

The pricing is further affected by the size of the vehicle and whether you’re doing terminal to terminal shipping, or door-to-door delivery service. It’s always advisable to get several quotes from different shipping companies and see what each one will provide in the service.

how much does car shipping cost
Image credit: harry_nl

Car Transport Rates By Mile

One of the biggest factors that can affect the cost to ship a car is the overall transit mileage. Shipping a large SUV in an enclosed carrier obviously is going to be much different than shipping a standard size vehicle in an open carrier. Some other factors to consider are:

  1. Size: a heavier vehicle like a minivan is going to cost twice as much to ship compared to a compact vehicle.
  2. Location: door-to-door delivery service in a rural location is going to come at a higher cost. If you’re able to pick up your vehicle or drop it off using terminal services, you can save a lot more money.
  3. Season: owners looking to ship their car can find more savings during the winter months when there’s less demand for shipping services. Just be aware that there can be longer delivery times if there are weather issues.
  4. Timeline: transporting a vehicle across the country can sometimes take weeks. If you need your vehicle in a hurry, there are expedited services usually available at a premium.

Car Shipping Cost Based On Vehicle Size

The size of your car is going to be one of the biggest factors for the price for two reasons. A larger vehicle will take up more space on a trailer leaving space for fewer cars. Larger vehicles also weigh more and will therefore limit the overall capacity that can be hauled. With maximum freight weight limits of 80,000 pounds limited by the Department of Transportation, a car carrier can usually accommodate between 5 and 9 vehicles at any one time.

Shipping Methods

Although shipping your car with a car transport company is the most popular option, it is far from the only other shipping option available. Other popular methods for car shipping include container shipping, freight train, shipping vessel and even by air.

  1. Rail Freight can be a budget friendly option however commercial carriers don’t work directly with individuals shipping solo vehicles. You would have to go through a transport company and even then the spacing can be limited. You also have restrictions because of the terminals and you will need to figure out how to get the vehicle to/from the rail yard.
  2. Port shipping: If you need your vehicle shipped across a large body of water, port shipping is a great option shipping a vehicle to Hawaii can be upwards of $2000 using this method.
  3. Airfreight: When you need to move overseas it may be a thought to transport your vehicle the same way you would get yourself there, by air. Be aware that the cost to ship your car via air is much different and can easily exceed the actual value of the vehicle.
Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.