How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car?Are you trying to figure out how much it costs to ship a car? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

There are a lot of factors that will impact your overall shipping prices and services, and we have a handy breakdown of all the things that will affect your prices. So read on, learn about how much it costs to ship a car, and get a free quote to ship your vehicle with us via our online form or by calling us toll-free any time.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car?

The average cost to ship a car within the continental U.S. is around $1,000, with the lowest flirting near $700-$750 and the highest average price being in the $1200-$1,300 neighborhood. In general, the per-mile average for automobile shipping is $0.60/mile for distances over 1,000 miles. Shorter routes cost more per mile (around $1 per mile). 

However, the total cost to ship a vehicle is affected by factors such as the selected transportation method, the time of the year, the distance that has to be covered, and the vehicle size, among others. That being said, you may find companies that charge a flat fee for car shipping. In this case, though, look at the fine print as there are usually extra charges that add to the shipping cost quickly. 

Factors That Affect the Cost of Shipping a Car

The total cost you pay to ship your vehicle will vary based on a number of different factors. Where are you shipping from or to? What kind of vehicle are you shipping? What condition is it in? All of that and more will determine your specific car transport price. Luckily, with American Auto Shipping, we can find you the best quotes from the best companies completely free of charge.

Distance: Where are you shipping from and to?
The distance between your pickup and delivery locations tends to be the #1 most important factor in your car transport price. The further you ship, the more expensive it is. Most companies will price shipments on a per-mile basis, and the price per mile tends to go down for longer distances. Short distances are cheaper, but cost more per mile, while longer shipments are more expensive, but cost less per mile.

Vehicle Type: What are you shipping?
What you’re shipping is almost as important as where you’re shipping from and to. Shippers need exact information regarding your vehicle so they know how much space to allocate for it. Larger vehicles cost more to ship for this reason. For most vehicles, dimensions are already known. However, if your vehicle is a van or a pickup truck, carriers may need the dimensions of it. This is true for any larger-than-average vehicle, really.

Maneuverability: Does your vehicle run?
The condition of your vehicle will also play an important role in how much it costs to ship your car. If your car doesn’t start, but it can still roll, brake, and steer, a winch can be used to load and unload it. While vehicles are usually loaded via driving them onto the truck, that can’t happen if they aren’t running. Winches are not used by all carriers, and those that do have one tend to charge a bit more for the hassle of using it.

If you don’t tell your agent that your vehicle is not running, they may dispatch a truck that cannot load your vehicle, which can result in dry run fees that you’d have to cover. Misrepresentation of a vehicle can cause serious problems, so be upfront with the condition of your vehicle when booking your shipment.
Enclosed Car Shipping Services

Transport Type: How do you want your vehicle shipped?
Open transportation is the cheapest method of shipping a vehicle. If you opt for enclosed transportation, it will add to the cost of your shipment significantly. If you’re shipping a large pickup truck, or a vehicle that has been modified and now has different dimensions than a stock counterpart, it can also increase the price.

Origination: Are you shipping from a major city?
Major cities and their metro areas are more popular than rural locations for several reasons. For starters, there are naturally more carriers in larger cities. Also, there are more potential customers. This makes things cheaper since carriers don’t have to go too far out of their way to pickup or deliver a vehicle. For rural shipments, if you’re close to a highway, that will help your price. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, however, prices tend to be at their highest.

Seasonality: What season is it?
You’d be surprised, but the seasons can and will affect auto transport services and how much it will take to ship your car. Fall and spring are considered the “stable” seasons, while summer and winter tend to be more volatile in terms of the cost to ship a car. Summer shipping sees a huge spike in demand for shipping services, which will increase prices along major routes. During the winter months, demand goes down, which tends to result in lower prices for transporting a vehicle.

Other factors that affect automobile shipping costs:

  • The condition of the vehicle – If the car is not in working condition, you will be called to pay more to ship it.
  • Extra services – If you require expedited auto shipping or additional insurance, you increase the shipping cost of your vehicle by around $250 to $550. 
  • Route – Direct routes, traffic jams, and road closures influence the price.
  • Number of vehicles – Naturally, it will cost you more to ship more than one car although you might be able to obtain a discount on the total cost. 
  • Seasonality – During peak car shipping season, prices heat up. This is usually done in the summertime because trucks book up fast, which means that the competition on finding available trucks to load and ship the cars is high. In general, you are called to pay between $200-$350 more in the summer than in the winter months. As for the winter season, it is cheaper to ship a car, but also much slower, due to the weather conditions that may come into play. 
  • Failed delivery –  Sometimes, car owners fail to make contact during the delivery window, which results in a failed delivery. When that happens, the surcharges are quite hefty and count several hundred dollars.

Average Car Shipping Costs Per Transport Type

In the car shipping industry, there are three main types of transport trucks: open, enclosed, and flatbed.

The most cost-effective way to transport a car is by an open transport truck. Enclosed transport can cost upwards of $400-$500 more than open transport for the same car on the same route.

Having said that, the overwhelming majority of car owners prefer open transport carriers anyway. This leaves the “premium” shipping option for individuals with exotic cars, classic cars, luxury cars, and other custom vehicles.

Open transportation is best for people who are shipping a vehicle they drive every day. Enclosed transportation is best for vehicles that are not driven daily due to their high value. While open transport truck drivers load and unload vehicles by driving them on and off the truck, many enclosed trailers have liftgate elevators for loading and unloading. This means the vehicle doesn’t have to be driven on and off the truck, which helps mitigate potential damage. 

Flatbed transportation is an on-demand service that is designed for vehicles too heavy or large to fit on a standard open or enclosed trailer. This is best for heavy equipment or vehicles that have been modified well beyond their stock dimensions.

Average Car Shipping Costs Per Distance Traveled 

Bear in mind that the longer the trip, the more gas the truck driver will need. This automatically means more expensive car shipping services. The following table provides an average car shipping cost per distance after calculating and comparing the costs of 3 car sizes across 5 distances using the current prices, offers, and availability. 

Please note that these are subject to change and may not reflect current auto transport trends. We are just giving you an idea of the average cost per transport type here. To get a precise estimate of the cost, use our Auto Transport Calculator to get a quote. 

Average cost Open transport Enclosed transport
150 miles $470 $350 $590
550 miles $750 $550 $950
1,000 miles $1,150 $900 $1,400
1,050 miles $985 $720 $1,250
2,750 miles $1,300 $1,050 $1,550

The bigger the car, the more it will cost to ship. For every car size you jump up, you add another $100 (approximately) to the price tag. Roughly estimated, an average car will cost you about $850 to ship. An SUV requires around $920, while a truck is charged nearly $1,100 to transport. Of course, enclosed shipping increases the total cost by around $200 on average. 

It should also be noted that the car shipping cost is also affected by whether the transport distance involves in-state or cross country trips. Surcharges, such as charges for overnight trips, charges for leaving the state, toll roads, and gas play a role in the final quote you will receive. 

Also, if a shipment is to or from a location that is difficult to reach (i.e., a place remote from an interstate), this automatically makes the shipment more expensive than shipments to major cities with easy access. So, the average cross-country cost to ship a vehicle is $1,300, while an in-state trip will set you back $500 on average (covering 150 miles or less). 

Average Car Shipping Cost Based On Vehicle Size 

Vehicle Type Average Weight (pounds) Estimated Cost per 1,000 miles
Minivan 4500 $0.96
Midsize SUV 4300 $0.86
Mid-sized Pickup Truck 4300 $0.86
Mid-sized car 3500 $0.75
Compact car 3000 $0.59

The reason why bigger cars are costlier to transport is that they take up more space on the transport truck. Also, a heavier vehicle is not as easy on the carrier’s gas mileage as a lighter one. Consequently, it will cost you less to ship smaller cars like a Ford Escape or a Kia Sportage than a Ford F-150 or a Chevrolet Silverado. 

The following table offers an overview of the average cost to ship a car, SUV, or truck via OPEN transport. 

Distance (miles) Truck SUV Car
150 miles $400 $380 $350
550 miles $650 $580 $540
1,000 miles $1,070 $920 $850
1,100 miles $900 $770 $750
2,750 miles $1,200 $1,100 $1,050

Here are the average automobile shipping costs by distance to ship an SUV or a truck via ENCLOSED transport:

Distance (miles) SUV Truck
150 miles $490 $600
550 miles $780 $940
1,000 miles $1,250 $1,490
1,050 miles $990 $1,280
2,750 miles $1,370 $1,620

Average Car Shipping Costs By Freight

Although most operators use trucks to transport cars, there are other methods as well, such as airplanes, trains, or ships. Air transportation will cost you as much as $100,00 if you are shipping your automobile to an international destination and less if sending your car within the country (i.e., Hawaii or Alaska). Nevertheless, it remains much more expensive than shipping a vehicle by truck. But, if you are after an easy move while relocating overseas, air freight is a good option. 

Shipping your car on a train, on the other hand, will cost you no more than $1,000 (route- and railway company-depending, of course). It is an economical (and practical) transportation method due to the rising fuel prices. 

As for the charges to ship a car, they range between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the distance that has to be covered. It remains a handy option for destinations like Hawaii or Alaska. 

Disclaimer: The price ranges you see in these tables are subject to change. This means that they are just indicators of the costs related to automobile shipping. Things like gas price fluctuations and other factors may have already changed the prices when you view this page. To get a price quote, use our online auto transports calculator. 

Ship a Car Today With American Auto Shipping!

If you’re interested in shipping a vehicle at a great rate with a great company, you’ve come to the right place. Here at American Auto Shipping, we understand the factors that go into your auto transport prices and we make sure we are always giving out the best quotes and prices for our customers. We use an online auto transport rate calculator that updates in real-time using over 500 points of data to get our customers the best prices we can, no matter what they’re shipping. So get a quote online or give us a call at 800-930-7417 to speak to a representative and see what American Auto Shipping can do for you.

Dave Armstrong
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