Car Shipping Cost: How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Vehicle (2024)

Shipping a car to another state sounds much better than putting a couple of thousand miles on it, right? Whether you’re moving from California to Florida, Texas to Illinois, or somewhere in between, understanding car shipping costs can help you drill down on your non-negotiable transport needs and set the appropriate budget.

In this article, we’ll explain how the best car shipping companies set their vehicle shipping costs and how you can get the best price for your upcoming move.

Vehicle transport costs

Car shipping costs depend on the distance the vehicle needs to travel, its size, and the type of carrier you use.

Keep reading to pull back the curtain on how car transport companies calculate their costs.

Car shipping pricing per mile

According to our research, you can expect to pay between $900 and $2,000 to ship your car anywhere in the United States. But it is cheaper per mile to ship your vehicle over longer distances.

Scan the table below to get a better feel for average car shipping costs per mile.

Distance Car transport services Average cost per mile
Less than 500 miles Open carrier $1.36
Less than 500 miles Enclosed carrier $3.00
500–1,000 miles Open carrier $0.79
500–1,000 miles Enclosed carrier $1.09
1,000–1,500 miles Open carrier $0.67
1,000–1,500 miles Enclosed carrier $0.88
1,500–2,000 miles Open carrier $0.58
1,500–2,000 miles Enclosed carrier $0.78
2,000–2,500 miles Open carrier $0.55
2,000–2,500 miles Enclosed carrier $0.72

Car shipping pricing by vehicle size

Vehicle size is an important factor in the cost of shipping because it determines how many vehicles fit, and it can impact the fuel efficiency of the towing vehicle.

In general, you can expect to pay between $1,125 and $1,800 to ship your vehicle around 1,000 miles. We’ve outlined the average costs for each vehicle type below.

Type of vehicle Car shipping cost range Average cost
Sedan/compact car $550–$1,700 $1,125
Small SUV $800–$2,000 $1,400
Regular SUV $900–$2,300 $1,600
Truck $1,100–$2,500 $1,800

Car shipping pricing by carrier type

Open carrier car transport is the more affordable vehicle shipping method, but enclosed car shipping companies may be worthwhile if you have a specialty vehicle, like a classic car or boat.

On average, enclosed carriers cost about $300 more than open carriers for the same distance and vehicle size.

Type of transport Car shipping cost range Average car shipping rates
Enclosed trailer $1,414–$2,085 $1,766
Open car transport $1,110–$1,885 $1,489

Cheapest way to ship a car

The cheapest way to ship a car is open transport with door-to-door delivery. While you may be tempted to throw your vehicle in an enclosed trailer for a cross-country move, open auto transport isn’t likely to jeopardize your vehicle condition. In fact, even new car manufacturers use this method to get their products to dealerships.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Transparent pricing
  • Fully insured
Check prices (864) 492-1221

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.75 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • No deposit
  • Quick pickup
Check prices (888) 259-6046

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.55 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • 13 yrs experience
  • Ship boat, RV, ATV
Check prices (224) 206-5633

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Price lock promise
  • Free car wash
Check prices (833) 775-1461

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.35 / 5
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Rental car option
  • Ship inoperable
Check prices (866) 563-0804

% of users select this mover

You can further safeguard your wallet and your vehicle throughout the shipping process by electing for optimal insurance coverage.

Don’t hesitate to interview several auto transport providers so you can trust that you’re getting the most out of your shipping options. The best car shipping companies will be eager to give you a free quote without any hassle.

You’ll know you’ve found the right company when your auto transport quote aligns with the averages across the car shipping industry.

Let’s look deeper at the factors that affect your auto transport costs.

Factors affecting car shipping costs

Auto shipping companies base their costs on a variety of factors. We’ve outlined the most notable so you can effectively budget for your desired auto transport services.

Vehicle shipping has a lot of moving parts that contribute to the car carrier’s costs:

  • Distance: Longer distances cost more overall but can have a lower per-mile rate than short distances.
  • Time of year: Car shippers can expect to pay more in the spring, summer, and at the beginning of the year because this time of year is considered the peak moving season.
  • Desired delivery timeline: Auto transport carriers will charge more for guaranteed or expedited delivery, so we recommend movers plan to be flexible if they can be.
  • Type of vehicle: Larger vehicles take more space and weigh more than smaller vehicles.
  • Open vs. enclosed auto transport: Open carriers are more competitively priced than enclosed trailers.
  • Insurance coverage: Opting for additional insurance can provide peace of mind, but it definitely adds to the total cost. It’s not often factored into your original car shipping quote.

How to lower car shipping pricing

Here are a few things to do to get the best price on your auto transport, no matter what company you choose.

Be flexible

You can save money on your car shipping costs by accepting a delivery window rather than a guaranteed delivery date. Many auto transport companies offer 24/7 car shipment tracking, so you can anticipate your delivery as it gets closer to your current location.

Opt for open transport

Unless you have an antique or classic car, open transport generally makes the most sense. Open carriers aren’t inherently unsafe, and the cost savings can leave you with room in your budget for better insurance coverage, if you want some added assurance.

Inquire about price matching

Don’t be afraid to haggle! Auto transport companies compete with each other, and they want to know when other companies beat them on price. If you receive a cheaper quote elsewhere but ultimately like another company’s car shipping services more, mention the lower estimate and see if they will match the price.

Research discounts

You’d be surprised how many car shipping discounts there are. If you’re a student, military member, senior citizen, first-time customer, or “frequent flier” shipping multiple vehicles, you may be eligible for additional cost savings not available to the general public.

FAQs about car shipping cost

How much does it cost to ship a car across the U.S.?

It costs about $1,600 to ship a car across the U.S. However, these costs can vary depending on the size and type of vehicle, the time of year, the distance between origin and delivery locations, and desired car shipping services.

We recommend requesting several car shipping quotes so you can find the best price for your long-distance auto transport.

What is the most cost-effective way to ship a car?

One of the most common car shipping questions we get is about the best way to ship a car. Door-to-door service in an open carrier is the most cost-effective way to ship a car, and it’s the standard in the auto transport industry. If you’re worried about debris or live in a part of the country where door-to-door vehicle shipment may present additional challenges, talk to car companies about enclosed shipping or terminal-to-terminal service.

Reputable companies will be as transparent as possible about car transport costs for your vehicle type, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

How is car shipping calculated?

Car shipping is generally calculated based on the cost per mile. You can use a car shipping calculator or estimate the cost per mile for your vehicle type and the distance it needs to travel. Check your work by requesting instant quotes from several auto shippers.

What are the advantages of auto shipping?

The main advantages of auto shipping are minimizing wear and tear on your vehicle and saving time driving across long distances. You may consider auto shipping if you’ve already hired a full-service moving company or you’re driving a moving rental truck to your new home.

How long does it take to ship a car to another state?

The time it takes to ship a car to another state depends on the time of year, type of transport, selected services, and the lead time of your chosen auto transport company. Most car shipping companies will provide a delivery window when you book your reservation, but you should budget between a few days and up to a couple of weeks.

Not what you were looking for?

Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!

See All
Hide All