Shipping a Car Across The Country: Is It Better Than Driving?

The good news is that you’ve gotten a new job or a big promotion. The bad news is that you have to move across the country for it.

Such a big move, while exciting, can quickly become overwhelming, especially when it comes to arranging for an auto transport company for your biggest and most valuable item — your car.

However, you can make moving a breeze by simply shipping your car to your new home instead of driving it there yourself.

How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Car Across the Country?

One of the biggest concerns, when you have to relocate a car across the country, is, of course, the cost. Moving your furniture alone can be incredibly expensive, and moving your car only adds to this expense.

So how much does it actually cost to ship a car across the country? The cost varies depending on the size of the car, the shipping distance, the transport method, and the time of year.

Variables That Affect Transport Cost


The first variable that determines the shipping cost is the size of the car in question. Larger cars take up more space on trailers, and therefore, cost more money to ship. This means that SUVs, trucks, and minivans will be more expensive than sedans. The average cost to ship a car is $1,150 compared to $1,280 for an SUV and $1,450 for a truck.


The second variable that determines the cost of shipping a car across the country is the distance traveled. For example, it will cost more to ship a car from Florida to California than it would ship a car from Florida to Tennessee.

This is because many car transporters charge you by the mile since more mileage equals more gas and more driving time.

And while every car transporter's pricing model differs, many of them have different pricing tiers based on the total distance traveled.

For example, you may get charged $1 per mile for trips less than 500 miles. Meanwhile, for trips over 1,000 miles, you may get charged less than that. Oftentimes, the more mileage being covered, the less the per-mile rate will be.

This means that the average cost to ship a car less than 500 miles is $780, while the average cost to ship 500 to 1,000 miles is $960, 1,000 to 1,500 miles is $1,290, 1,500 to 2,000 miles is $1,530, 2,000 to 2,500 miles is $1,600, and over 2,500 miles is $1,590. As you can see, anything over 1,500 miles will end up costing about the same amount.

Transport Method

The third variable that determines the cost of shipping a car across the country is the method of transport.

When it comes to shipping your car, you have two choices: open transport or enclosed transport. Open transport involves shipping your car on an open trailer. Closed transport involves shipping your car in an enclosed trailer.

Open transport is cheaper than enclosed transport since it allows for more cars to be loaded onto the trailer. The average cost for open transport is $1,080, while the average cost for enclosed transport is $1,500. On average, you can expect to pay about $420 more for enclosed transport.

Enclosed transport is ideal for vintage or luxury vehicles that need more protection throughout the shipping process. Enclosed trailers effectively protect them from the elements and the rough conditions of the road. At the same time, most regular cars can be safely shipped using open transport trailers. Season

The fourth and final variable that determines the cost of shipping a car across the country is the time of year. Like everything else in the market, car shipping rates are based on the laws of supply and demand. When the demand is higher, the prices are going to be higher as a result.

Summertime is the peak car shipping season since this is when most people decide to move. For this reason, you can expect to pay a premium price for shipping a car during the summer.

If you do have to ship your car during the summer, make sure to schedule your shipment well in advance since there will be many people competing for the same service with a limited number of drivers available to make it happen.

How Does Car Transportation Work?

Now that you know more about how much it costs to ship a car across the country, let’s dive deeper into how the process actually works once so that you can find a reasonable quote from a trusted transport company:

Choose Your Pickup Location

In order to move forward with arranging your cross-country car shipment, you need to choose your pickup location. Some transport companies are able to come directly to you to pick up your vehicle.

While this option may be convenient, it can also be pricey, as you should expect to pay a premium for this service.

If you’re looking for the most economical option, you should be prepared to drive your car to an auto transport terminal. These terminals are usually located in large metropolitan areas. This option may be realistic if you live near a large metropolitan area.

On the other hand, if you live in a more rural area and would have to drive a long way to the terminal and arrange your own transport from there, this can quickly become complicated and costly.

Choose Your Destination and Delivery Date

You also need to choose your destination and delivery date. Similar to the pickup process, you can either choose to have the car dropped off at a destination of your choosing (home, work, etc.) or have the car dropped off at a nearby auto transport terminal where you can then pick it up.

You then choose your delivery date, keeping in mind that you may have to pay storage fees at the terminal if you cannot pick up your car right away.

Find a Transportation Company

With this information in mind, you can begin looking for a vehicle transportation company that offers competitive pricing and top-notch service.

Even though there are countless companies out there to choose from, it can be hard to find one that checks both of these boxes.

Try asking friends, family, or coworkers if they have any recommendations on transportation companies they’ve worked within the past. If you’re not able to get any personal recommendations, the next best place to look is online.

Search for companies in your area and then check customer reviews, registration, and safety ratings.

Reach out to your final contenders for quotes and make your final decision — keeping in mind that the cheapest option might not be the best option.

Prep Your Vehicle

Once you have your car transport arranged, you need to prepare your vehicle for its journey.

First, remove any and all personal items from the vehicle — including exterior accessories. Second, give your car a nice cleaning before inspecting it — taking photos and videos in the process.

Third, ensure that any maintenance or repairs are completed before the car is picked up or dropped off at the terminal.

Finally, make sure that your gas tank is as close to empty as possible to limit the weight of your car.

Is Shipping Your Car Easier Than Driving?

Based on everything you now know about shipping your car, you might be wondering if driving it yourself would be easier than having to find a transport company, book the service, and pay a lot of money.

At the same time, you need to consider what driving it yourself would mean for you and your car.

For starters, driving long distances is not easy for inexperienced drivers. You may need to make several stops along the way — paying for food and accommodations — not to mention gas at the highest prices since 2014, with an average price of $3.36 a gallon.

You also need to consider the cost of putting the mileage onto your car. Driving the car yourself may very well equate to extra maintenance costs, including oil changes, tires, brake pads, fluids, and more. And if you run into any unexpected vehicle issues along the way, this can quickly complicate your journey and hurt your wallet.


Shipping your car across the country with Carvaygo is definitely better than driving it yourself. Carvaygo is a top rated car hauler in both open and enclosed vehicle transportation.

Open transport or enclosed transport, Carvaygo transports thousands of vehicles every month while making speed and safe handling our top priorities.

Carvaygo has a network of 40,000+ independent car haulers across the country who provide fast, safe and effective transport of personally owned vehicles. A wholly-owned subsidiary of RPM, an award-winning vehicle logistics provider trusted by some of the world's largest automotive manufacturers around the world, Carvaygo was designed to be a technologically advanced vehicle shipping operation. Carvaygo's relationship with RPM lets our customers benefit from RPM's strength and experience.

Carvaygo was built from the ground up using the latest technology to make your experience fast and frictionless. Carvaygo is an easy and reliable way to have your vehicle shipped affordably anywhere in the continental U.S.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country? |
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