The state of California is one of the most popular auto transport locations in the United States. As such, finding auto transport to and from California is a breeze most of the time! But there are some things that you should know and understand about transporting a vehicle into or out of the state if you’re looking to do so.
As the largest state in the U.S. by population, California sees a lot of demand for car transport services. Its major cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, are among the most popular vehicle transport locations in the entire country. Finding auto shippers willing to travel into or out of California is never difficult.
That said, though, understanding how auto shippers view the state, and what you can expect when shipping to or from it, is important. So we’ll break down auto transport to and from California and help you get the most out of your car transport services.
A brief overview of California
California is a very diverse state, whether geographically, politically, or socially. It has the fifth-largest economy in the world, is home to some of the largest cities in the country, and is a major destination for people moving to a new location.
Northern California is sparsely populated and heavily forested. Further south is the San Francisco Bay Area, a metropolitan area home to millions of people and anchored by two of the five largest cities in the state.
From San Francisco to Los Angeles is a stretch of smaller cities, while Los Angeles anchors the largest metropolitan west of the Mississippi. Further south is San Diego, near the border of Mexico, itself a major city in the state.
Eastern California is mostly mountainous, with a large central valley that is home to more medium cities such as Bakersfield and Modesto. Central California is mostly desert, as is southeastern California, while the west is more of a Mediterranean climate.
How auto transporters get around California
With all these major cities, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of highways which motorists can use to get around. California is a really big state, after all, and getting around is challenging. A drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles is almost 400 miles – at 60 miles per hour, it’ll take almost seven hours by driving! Carriers, of course, rely on highways, particularly interstate highways, to get around. California having several is important for them, as it makes it faster and easier to get from customer to customer.
Interstate 5 is the main north-south interstate through California. But it’s interesting in that it runs through the Central Valley as opposed to the west coast, where most of the state’s largest cities are. This means that, when traveling within California, a lot of carriers prefer Highway 101, but if they’re heading into Oregon, I-5 is infinitely better. Of the east-west interstates in the state, I-10 is the more popular of them. I-10 is a major east-west interstate that runs from Los Angeles to Jacksonville. Lots of carriers will use that interstate to get to Arizona. But I-8 also runs through Arizona, coming out of San Diego and connecting with Yuma before it meets up with I-10 south of Phoenix.
These interstates make getting into, out of, and around California a lot easier for carriers. This in turn results in lower prices for you and faster ship times on the whole. There are other factors that will influence the prices you pay and the services available, of course. But we’ll get to those in a bit.
Auto transport to major California cities
If you’re transporting a car to or from California, major cities tend to be where the carriers want to go. So, if you’re moving to California, it’s easier to find shippers willing to go to big cities. The main metropolitan areas carriers go through are San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These are the core cities of their respective metropolitan areas, each home to literally millions of people.
Auto transporters want to travel along easy-to-drive routes through major cities and metropolitan areas. It doesn’t get much easier than Los Angeles, at least when it comes to getting there. Carriers like Los Angeles because it is sprawling, relatively easy to get around thanks to the highways, and it’s always in demand.
The same goes for San Diego and San Francisco, but those are a bit trickier. San Francisco, located up north, is also accessible via I-80, but this runs through the middle of the country where demand for their services is lower. As such, shipping to San Francisco tends to cost more than shipping to Los Angeles or San Diego.
San Diego, too, may cost more than Los Angeles, mostly because it sits a few hours south on I-5. If carriers are coming in along I-80 or I-10, they have to travel even further to San Diego, which can raise rates slightly. But overall, shipping to any of these cities will be easy to find and accomplish.
Auto transport to rural California
The same, however, cannot necessarily be said for shipping to cities outside of those metropolitan areas. Rural transportation is more expensive than shipping to bigger cities because demand is lower. Auto shippers need to travel along routes that take them where the customers are. Shipping to and from the middle of nowhere is often not a profitable venture for them.
California is a bit unique in that even its more rural areas tend to be fairly large. Bakersfield and Modesto are urban areas, but they’re still somewhat “rural” in California because they’re far removed from the major cities in the west. They have all the hallmarks of rural shipping including low demand from customers and little attention from carriers. That said, it’s not hard to find a carrier to ship to or from rural areas in California. It may take a bit longer than it would on a more normal route, and it may cost a bit more. But pricing is still competitive and carriers are still more than willing to travel just about anywhere in California.
Mountainous areas are going to be the most expensive rural areas to ship to, though, and California has its fair share. These areas, particularly in the north and east, are challenging for large trucks due to the steep and narrow roads often present in mountainous areas. Meeting carriers down the slope is fairly common, so be sure to talk to an agent about your rural California auto transport needs.
The role weather and seasons play
Weather plays a vital role in transportation services regardless of the location or the season. But auto transport is a seasonal industry, and auto transport to and from California is no exception.
Summer shipping tends to be when auto transport services are at their most expensive. Demand is at its highest from customers, and while there are seasonal carriers that increase the available pool of carriers, there’s still a lot more demand than supply. When demand goes up and supply does not, prices go up. The reverse is true in the winter months. Prices are cheaper because fewer people are shipping in the wintertime. At the same time, carriers shift their routes to travel along the most profitable ones possible.
California is one of the states that sees the most dramatic seasonal changes in prices. Summer tends to be the most expensive time to ship, while winter is usually the cheapest. But finding carriers is almost always easy so long as you’re paying enough. So, on the whole, weather and seasons will affect prices, but they should not affect how long it takes to find a carrier for auto transport to and from California for your vehicle.
Ship today with American Auto Shipping
If you are interested in auto transport to or from California, we can help! Here at American Auto Shipping, we’ve been helping customers ship their vehicles for over 20 years, and we can help you too. We know all the ins and outs of transporting vehicles anywhere in the U.S., including California. With our comprehensive pricing tool, we look at over 500 points of data in real time to keep our prices up to date in a constantly-changing landscape. This means that, no matter when or where you’re shipping, we will get you the price your vehicle needs to be moved on time.
So call us today at 800-930-7417 to speak to an agent, or get a quote immediately via our online quote request form. The latter will let you see your price and you can even book your entire order online if you’d like! Or, you can give us a call to speak to someone. They can answer your questions, give you a quote, book your shipment, and much more. So no matter what you’re shipping, or where you’re shipping from and to, let American Auto Shipping help you get it done.
Helpful Links About California
- State of California Official Website
- California on Wikipedia
- California State Guide Courtesy of the Library of Congress
- Visit California
- Job Opportunities in California
More Information About Cities in California by Urban Area
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Anaheim | Angelino Heights | Arleta | Bel Air | Beverly Hills | Brentwood | Bunker Hill | Burbank | Canoga Park | Carson | Chatsworth | Cheviot Hills | Costa Mesa | Downey | Eagle Rock | East Hollywood | El Monte | El Sereno | Elysian Park | Encino | Fairfax | Florence | Fullerton | Garden Grove | Glendale | Gramercy Park | Granada Hills | Hancock Park | Harbor City | Harvard Heights | Highland Park | Hollywood | Huntington Beach | Hyde Park | Inglewood | Irvine | Jefferson Park | Lancaster | Los Angeles | Long Beach | Norwalk | Orange | Oxnard | Palmdale | Pasadena | Pomona | Santa Ana | Santa Clarita | Simi Valley | Thousand Oaks | Torrance | Ventura | Victorville | West Covin
San Francisco Metropolitan Area
Antioch | Berkeley | Concord | Daly City | Fairfield | Fremont | Hayward | Oakland | Richmond | San Francisco | San Jose | Santa Clara | Santa Rosa | Stockton | Sunnyvale | Vallejo