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

See Article— USA Today

Is Shipping Your Car to California from New York Cheaper than Driving It?

Published by Tamar Hela.

Is Shipping Your Car to California from New York Cheaper than Driving It?

When moving cross-country, is it more economical to ship your car or to drive it yourself? The drive from New York to California spans thousands of miles, probably making you wonder about the cost-effectiveness of auto transportation. In this article, we'll look at the factors that influence the decision to ship or drive your vehicle coast-to-coast and what might be the best option for you. Let’s dig in.

Factors to Consider

Before deciding between shipping your car to California from New York or driving it across the country, several factors need to be considered to determine the most cost-effective and practical option. The most important is the type and size of your vehicle, which will directly influence the cost of shipping. Naturally, larger SUVs and trucks typically incur higher shipping rates due to the extra space they consume on the carrier.

Gas prices are another critical aspect, affecting not just the driving option but also the rates set by auto transport companies. High fuel costs can increase shipping prices.

Another thing to consider is the specific shipping routes. Some routes may be more competitive in rates because of higher carrier competition. All these variables should be carefully weighed to understand the full cost implications of shipping your car as opposed to driving it.

New Deals are now available for shipping all types vehicles using our vetted reliable shippers. Compare price estimates & Unlock up 25% off.

Shipping Companies

Auto transport companies specialize in the carriage of vehicles country-wide. Hiring an auto transport company means that professionals will take charge of loading your car onto a trailer from the pick-up point and safely transport it to your chosen destination.

As experts in their industry, they will know how to coordinate the logistics of shipping your vehicle, the type of insurance needed, and the best route to get your car from point A to point B. Be sure to do your homework and compare quotes and company or shipping policies.

Auto Transport Service Options

The services offered by auto transport companies are designed to meet a variety of needs, allowing for flexibility in moving plans and preferences when shipping vehicles.

Open-carrier shipping stands as the most common and budget-friendly method, but for those seeking extra safeguarding for high-value or classic cars, enclosed carriers offer protection from weather and road debris, albeit at a higher price.

Type of Vehicle

As previously mentioned, the type of vehicle being transported plays a fundamental role in determining the cost. Here are some examples:

  • Large cars: The larger the vehicle, like trucks and SUVs, the more space it takes on the carrier, and therefore, the more it will cost to ship.
  • Non-running cars: Vehicles that don't run involve more labor to load and will also come with higher shipping rates than operational cars.
  • High value or classic cars: Enclosed transport, although offering superior protection for vehicles, especially for those of high value or antiquity, can be significantly more expensive — up to 50% more — than using open shipping services.

Shipping Costs

Naturally, the cost of shipping a car from New York to California is at the top of every vehicle transporter’s mind. The average cost to ship a car from New York to California is anywhere from $800 - $1500. Several factors contribute to these costs, such as:

  • Type of shipping service
  • Current gas prices
  • Vehicle's size
  • Time of year

Typically, open carrier shipping, a common and cost-effective method, can range from $550 to $1,600. On the other hand, enclosed carrier shipping, which provides additional protection for the vehicle, averages between $1,000 and $2,450.

Furthermore, the size of the vehicle impacts the overall cost, with larger vehicles adding anywhere from $150 to $250 to the total cost. Opting for terminal-to-terminal delivery often results in lower costs compared to door-to-door shipping, providing a more budget-friendly option for those looking to minimize expenses while transporting their vehicle from New York to California.

Average Cost of Shipping

Coast-to-coast auto transport within the United States comes with its set of expenses, and on average, shipping a car over a distance of 2750 to 3000 miles tends to cost around $1,280. This typically reflects open auto transport services from the West Coast to the East Coast, which average at about $1,589. In contrast, enclosed transport, with its superior protection for the vehicle during transit, incurs a higher average cost of approximately $900 more than open car shipping.

Fuel Costs

The price of fuel is a huge part of auto shipping costs, which is aptly considered in the carriers' pricing. Open transport, widely chosen for its affordability, generally costs around 40-50 cents per mile, translating to roughly $1,000 for a standard 2,500-mile trip between California and New York. For current market prices, you can anticipate approximately 45 cents per mile in fuel costs included in shipping rates.


Shipping Methods and Routes

Choosing the right method of transport can significantly impact your car shipping experience. Shipping companies generally offer two primary types of transport: open and enclosed.

Open Transport

Open transport is the industry's standard and most economical shipping method. It involves transporting vehicles on an open trailer, capable of carrying up to 20 cars. This type of transport is practical for most consumer vehicles and is widely preferred due to its combination of affordability and safety. Since the vehicles are exposed, they may be subject to dirt, dust, and weather during transit, but this is generally considered a minor inconvenience relative to the cost savings.

Enclosed Transport

Enclosed transport is ideal for shipping collectors, luxury, or high-value vehicles. It provides the highest level of protection, shielding the cars from road debris and weather. Enclosed trailers typically carry fewer vehicles, around eight, which translates to added attention for each car. It's a premium service and thus comes with a higher price tag, but for owners of special vehicles, the extra cost is worthwhile for peace of mind.

Popular Shipping Routes

The cross-country route from New York to California spans approximately 3,000 miles and is among the most popular shipping lanes. In correlation to its popularity, customers benefit from competitive rates due to the high volume of vehicles shipped and the abundance of carriers servicing this route. An important consideration for this route is that seasonal fluctuations and fuel costs can influence pricing.

Shipping Process and Delivery Time

The shipping process and the time it takes to deliver your car from New York to California can vary significantly. Factors such as distance, specific pickup and drop-off locations, and the shipping method chosen all play a role in determining the timeline. Typically, standard shipping times range from 7 to 12 days.

For those requiring quicker transport, express shipping options are available. These services guarantee car pickup within 1-2 days and prioritize fast transportation. But, they come at a higher cost than standard shipping, typically adding an extra $300 to $500 to the overall expense. The overall delivery window for coast-to-coast car shipping is about 5 to 14 days, with premium transportation options for those in need of expedited service.


The Bottom Line

So, as you can see, using an auto transport service company can streamline the shipping process, providing both convenience and efficiency. The simplicity of having professionals handle your vehicle's cross-country journey is often worth the cost for many car owners.

In contrast, driving the vehicle personally entails fuel costs, potential accommodation expenses, and the wear and tear on the car, which can add up quickly. Not to mention, if you have a large family, you have to also coordinate something more chaotic than getting your vehicle to the Golden State: people.

Ultimately, shipping your car tends to be the less stressful option, and for many, the costs are comparable if not favorable when compared to a long road trip. For peace of mind and efficiency, using a reputable auto transport service like A-1 Auto Transport is best for your New York to California shipping needs.

For more than two decades, we've helped thousands of customers safely transport their cars across the country without incident. Our team handles every shipment with extreme care and diligence from start to finish, where you'll receive real-time updates and have total visibility during your car’s journey.

For your cross-country move, let A1 Auto Transport handle your car shipping needs. You won't find better service, coverage, or peace of mind anywhere else. With us, your car is in safe hands.

Get a free quote by calling us or visiting us online.

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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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!

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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.

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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
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