How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car?

There are 5 major factors in calculating the cost of shipping a car.

There are numerous factors that play a role in the cost of shipping a car. When fully calculated, these factors create a huge price range. For vehicles traveling longer than 300 miles prices can vary from $0.60/Mile up to $1.20/Mile. The five main factors that affect the cost of shipping a car are:

  1. Distance
  2. Vehicle Size
  3. Specialized Equipment
  4. Urban vs. Non-Urban Locations
  5. Shipment Seasonality


The distance is the most important component to determining the cost of shipping a car. Generally, the longer the distance, the more it costs in total dollars. However, the per mile cost goes down as distance increases.

There are multiple elements that go into defining the per mile cost. This cost is calculated using information from the car hauler equipment leasing costs, insurance, fuel, and driver pay. In addition, demand for the vehicle transport and available supply of transporters in the area also play a significant role in the cost of auto transport.

Vehicle Size

Size matters. It mattered when you purchased a larger SUV and it matters to the car shipper as well. Size and weight play a role. Larger and heavier vehicles may require special accommodations.

Naturally, larger vehicles take up more space on the trailer. The heavier ones mean the transporters use more fuel. Therefore, there would be an additional surcharge. For example: electric vehicles weigh more than the combustion engine sedans due to the weight of the battery pack; so they cost more to transport.

Specialized Equipment

Vehicles that require specialized equipment to transport will also incur an additional surcharge. Open transport is generally the standard and most affordable option. However, some cars require a little more TLC, such as classic cars.

Enclosed transportation requires special handling and will have additional surcharges. But, they protect vehicles from the elements. This can be especially important for longer trips during the dry seasons; protecting vehicles from flying debris.

Similarly, inoperable vehicles require specialized equipment and will also have a surcharge. If operators are unable to easily load and unload the vehicle it can take time and resources.

Urban vs. Non-Urban Locations

Vehicle transport between two urban areas costs less than to non-urban locations. Rural areas are beautiful but have always been accompanied by extra costs. Unfortunately, car shipping is also one of those expenses.

Generally metropolitan areas have an abundance of available vehicle shipments. This abundance provides easier reloads for transporters making the trip more cost effective. Same idea as traveling popular flight routes; Atlanta to New York City is usually cheaper than Asheville, NC to Columbia, SC. Shipments destined to popular destinations cost less.

Shipment Seasonality

Seasonality also plays a large role in driving up the cost of transporting a vehicle. As with anything else, when demand increases so does the cost to ship the vehicle. For example, snowbirds.

Snowbirds are people who migrate from the colder northern parts of North America to warmer southern locales, typically during the winter. They tend to make this move around the same time every year. When snowbirds head South for the winter or head North for the summer they create a significant uptick in demand, in turn driving up the price of transport.


There are obvious cost factors when it comes to shipping a car like, location, equipment, and driver pay. But, there are other components that make up the overall cost. Insurance, distance, and supply will also be factored into the cost of shipping your vehicle.

Keep in mind that the ever-fluctuating cost of fuel can also affect your shipping costs. The price of fuel fluctuates widely and is updated weekly by the U.S. Energy Administration.

Change in the supply and demand is one of the key components that makes the cost of transporting a vehicle. Additionally, factors such as distance, urban vs. non-urban deliveries, vehicle size, specialized equipment and shipment seasonality all play a role in determining the cost of shipping a car.

At Carpool Logistics, our logistics experts leverage technology to optimize the entire car shipping process. We work to reduce the total shipping timeframe, save on transportation cost and to reduce carbon emissions.

Our proprietary optimization engine efficiently consolidates and routes multiple vehicle shipments while our digital matching algorithm assigns vehicles to car haulers with available space. Our mobile technology allows for status notifications and real-time tracking of vehicles in transit.

We are on a mission to reinvent car shipping and reduce carbon emissions.

Learn more about Carpool Logistics here.

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