Gift Icon
Get a 20% discount from our partners! Discount code will get added automatically when you submit the form.
Auto Transport Truck on Highway
4.7 Star Rating4.7 (67,926 reviews)
96.3% positive
No Surprises, Just Savings: Verified Carriers, Instant Quotes, and Best Price Guarantee!
You save 20% compared to other companies
Get quotes from trusted carriers, thoroughly vetted and fully insured. Enjoy trackable deliveries, fair pricing, and hassle-free transport from start to finish. Transport any type of vehicle and drive away worry-free.
Customer Images
7790 people shipped using A-1 Auto Transport last week
Scratch-Free Guarantee
Vetted Carriers
Transparent Costs
Customer Ratings By Feature
Value for Money ★★★★★ 4.9
Vehicle Care ★★★★★ 4.9
Fast Delivery ★★★★★ 4.9
Friendly Staff ★★★★★ 4.9
Dave loved the fast deliveryDave C.
Dave loved the fast delivery
My relocation to Chicago was fast, smooth and without any delay thanks to A1 Auto.
Courtney enjoyed the honest guidanceCourtney J.
Courtney enjoyed the honest guidance
Just what you need when trusting someone with your wheels! Kudos to this company!
Jeff enjoyed the fair priceJeff D.
Jeff enjoyed the fair price
Moved my ride hassle-free with these folks.Fair pricing, no surprises. Definitely recommend them!
Maria enjoyed the special care and safetyMaria L.
Maria enjoyed the special care and safety
Huge thanks to the movers – they were meticulous with my car. Love these guys.
Recently featured on USA Today

“A1 Auto Transport became synonymous with top-notch service delivery, unfailing punctuality and constantly preoccupied with customer satisfaction.

See Article— USA Today

How is the price of car shipping determined for shipments from California?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Detailed Factors Influencing Car Shipping Prices
  2. Distance and Route
  3. Type of Transport
  4. Vehicle Type and Size
  5. Time of Year
  6. Fuel Prices
  7. Additional Costs and Considerations
  8. Tips for Reducing Car Shipping Costs
  9. Conclusion
How is the price of car shipping determined for shipments from California?

When it comes to moving a vehicle over long distances, understanding how the price of car shipping is determined becomes crucial. This is especially true for shipments originating from California, a hub for automotive transport due to its size, population, and significant economic activities. Whether you're relocating, selling, or buying a vehicle, the cost to ship a car can vary widely based on several factors. In this article, we'll dive deep into what influences these costs specifically for shipments from California, providing you with the insights needed to navigate the process. By the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of the average car shipping cost and how to best prepare for your vehicle's journey.

The question of "how is the price of car shipping determined for shipments from California?" involves a multifaceted answer. Primarily, the cost is influenced by factors such as the distance between pickup and delivery locations, the type of transport chosen, the size and type of the vehicle, the time of year, and current fuel prices. For instance, shipping a car from Los Angeles to San Francisco will cost differently than shipping from California to New York due to the significant difference in distance. Additionally, opting for enclosed transport over open transport will increase the car shipping cost, as will shipping a large SUV compared to a compact car. Seasonal demand also plays a role; prices may spike during winter and summer months when more people are moving or sending vehicles to vacation spots. Lastly, fluctuations in fuel prices can directly impact the cost to ship a car, with higher fuel costs leading to higher shipping rates. Understanding these factors can help you estimate the average car shipping cost and plan your budget accordingly.


Detailed Factors Influencing Car Shipping Prices

Distance and Route

The distance between your vehicle's pickup and delivery locations is one of the most significant factors affecting the car shipping cost. Generally, the farther the distance, the higher the cost. However, the route taken also matters. Car shipping companies may charge less per mile for longer shipments, but the overall cost will still be higher than for shorter routes. Additionally, shipments from California to major cities or along popular routes might be less expensive due to higher demand and more frequent trips, which allows shipping companies to optimize their loads and costs.

Type of Transport

Choosing between open and enclosed transport is a major decision that directly impacts the cost to ship a car. Open transport, the most common and affordable option, exposes vehicles to the elements but is considered safe for most types of cars. Enclosed transport, on the other hand, offers additional protection from weather and road debris, making it a preferred choice for luxury, classic, or high-value vehicles. This added protection comes at a premium, typically increasing the car shipping costs.

Vehicle Type and Size

The size and type of vehicle being shipped also play a crucial role in determining the shipping cost. Larger vehicles take up more space on the carrier, which means fewer vehicles can be transported at once, leading to a higher price. Similarly, special vehicles, such as luxury cars, classic models, or vehicles with modifications, may require special handling or accommodations, further increasing the car shipping cost.

Time of Year

Seasonal demand significantly affects car shipping costs. During peak seasons, such as the summer months and the snowbird season (when people migrate from colder regions to warmer climates), the demand for car shipping services increases. This heightened demand can lead to higher prices. Conversely, during the off-peak seasons, you might find more competitive pricing as car shipping companies look to fill their carriers.

Fuel Prices

Fuel prices are a variable cost that shipping companies must account for when determining the price of car shipping. As fuel prices increase, so does the cost to operate the transport vehicles, which, in turn, affects the overall shipping cost. This factor is particularly relevant for long-distance shipments from California, where the distance can significantly influence fuel consumption.

Understanding these detailed factors can help you better anticipate the car shipping costs from California and make informed decisions when choosing a car shipping company.

Additional Costs and Considerations

When planning to ship a car from California, several additional costs and considerations can affect car shipping costs beyond the basic factors of distance, transport type, and vehicle size. Understanding these can help you budget more accurately and avoid surprises.

  • Insurance and Additional Services: Most car transport companies offer basic insurance coverage in their quotes, but it might not be sufficient for high-value vehicles. Purchasing additional insurance can increase peace of mind but will also raise the overall shipping cost. Furthermore, services like door-to-door delivery offer convenience, as opposed to terminal-to-terminal shipping, but come at a higher price due to the extra labor and fuel prices involved in making individual deliveries.
  • Expedited Shipping: If you need your vehicle to arrive by a specific date, expedited shipping options are available. However, prioritizing your shipment will significantly affect car shipping costs, as the shipping company may need to make special arrangements to meet your timeline.
  • Geographical Challenges: The ease of access to the pickup and delivery locations can also influence the final cost. Remote or hard-to-reach areas may require special equipment or extra effort to safely transport your vehicle, increasing the overall vehicle shipping rates. Urban areas might offer more straightforward access, but navigating through dense traffic can also add to the cost.

Tips for Reducing Car Shipping Costs

Despite the many factors that can drive up the cost of shipping a car, there are several strategies you can employ to keep expenses as low as possible:

  • Be Flexible with Dates: Car shipping prices can vary significantly with demand fluctuations. If you have flexibility in your schedule, you can avoid peak times, potentially saving on shipping costs.
  • Choose Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping: Opting for terminal-to-terminal car transport can reduce costs compared to door-to-door delivery. This option requires you to drop off and pick up your vehicle at designated locations, but the savings might be worth the extra effort.
  • Compare Quotes: Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Instead, gather multiple quotes from different car shipping companies to find the best rate and service that fits your needs.
  • Open Transport Over Enclosed: While enclosed transport offers additional protection, choosing open transport can significantly lower the cost. This option is safe for most vehicles and is the standard in vehicle transport.
  • Prepare Your Vehicle: Reducing the weight of your car by emptying it of personal items and ensuring it is in good running condition can also help reduce the shipping cost. Some companies charge extra for non-operational vehicles due to the additional labor required.


The cost to ship a car from California is influenced by a variety of factors, including the distance to the delivery locations, the type of transport chosen, the time of year, and current fuel prices. Additional services, insurance, and geographical challenges can also significantly affect car shipping costs. However, by understanding these factors and exploring ways to reduce costs, you can make vehicle transport both affordable and stress-free. Remember, the key to a successful shipment is to plan ahead, compare your options, and choose a reputable shipping company that meets your specific needs and budget.

When planning to ship a car from California, it's essential to partner with a trusted shipping company that offers transparent pricing and tailored services. Contact A1 Auto Transport today for a personalized quote, and let us make your vehicle transport experience smooth, affordable, and secure.

Share this content on social media for a chance to get up to 20% off your next shipment.
Copy link

Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

Email Me

Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

Visit our social, and see what our clients are saying about us:

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an instant free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak Directly to Our Sales Team:

Call Us 1-888-230-9116

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2024, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.