Every day at AA Car Transport get calls from customers asking How Much does it cost to ship a car? Some customers like to get estimates or ballpark prices to see whether they would like to use car transport, drive a company car, or sell it and buy a new one.
There is no easy answer, but we will try to make clear some of the factors that can affect the final price. All prices are for open trailer in US & Canada (not including Hawaii). This post
will help you understand the way you need to use a broker to ship your car.
Let’s start from the basic math.
The basic cost to ship a car in an open trailer is mileage multiplied by the size of the vehicle + broker fee.
- Small sedan / Hatchback – 50-75 cents per mile.
- Med size sedan – 50-85 cents per mile.
- Truck / SUV – 0.75-1.5 dollar per mile.
- VAN / Big truck – 1-3 dollars per mile.
So basically in a perfect world we have to open a map to calculate the distance between point A and point B, multiply according to the vehicle size and we have the cost. But this isn’t always the case.
Here are some of the factors that can change the price:
- Gas prices – This is the biggest factor on price. If gas prices go up, all shipping costs go up.
- Route, pick up & drop off locations – most drivers have the same route. Some of them do daily routes, some weekly or bi-weekly; therefore, a main route like LA to Miami is a well traveled route, which makes it easy to find drivers to ship the car (more drivers = less money). But, to ship a car from Barre VT to Casper WY will cost more, since these 2 cities are off any main route. Less drivers + off main route = higher costs.
- Season– auto and car transport seasons are divided into summer and winter. Seasonal time makes prices go up since there are more customers than drivers.
- Summer time main route is coast to coast.
- Winter time main route is: north to south and back north at the end of the winter (snowbirds).
- Vehicle – size is the big factor for 2 main reasons. The first one is weight. Heavy loads make the truck burn more gas. The second one is size. A big VAN takes the same amount of space on a trailer that 2 small sedans do.
- Special needs – there are a lot of factors that come into play like: if the car is running or not (not all trucks have a winch), towing gear, or any modification to the car that requires special equipment. These will all affect the cost.
- Time frame – driving is not an exact science! Customers with zero flexibility as far as pick up & delivery dates will pay more! Since there are so many factors like weather, traffic and weight stations, each hold up can change delivery time by hours and days.
As you can see there is no exact answer to “how much does it cost to ship a car?” Same car, same place, different season can mean a different price.
Let’s play with some numbers to better understand:
To ship a car from New York, NY to Los Angeles, CA is about 2800 miles – 2800*0.5+100=1500$ (miles*cents+broker fee) However, since it’s a well traveled route the price will drop down to $1100-$1300.
To ship a car from Barre VT to Casper WY will be around the $2000-$2400 (Based on winter 2018). Even though that based on the numbers above it should have been 2100*0.5+100=$1250 only. Its’ a 2100 miles route (700 miles less than Los Angeles to NY) But both locations are off route and have no regular shipping routes. Also during winter both of those location filled with snow, which make car shipping even more difficult and expensive.
How much does it cost to ship a car, it may seem, is a complected question to answer in general and must be answered per the customers needs . If you would like to know how much does it cost to ship YOUR car please fill out our get a quote form; we will be happy to help you out with your vehicle transport needs.
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