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What is the average cost of transporting a car across the country?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Understanding the Average Cost of Car Shipping Across the Country
  2. Factors Influencing the Cost of Transport
  3. Additional Costs and Considerations
  4. Tips for Reducing Costs and Choosing a Reliable Service
  5. Conclusion
What is the average cost of transporting a car across the country?

When it comes to moving a vehicle from one coast to another, many people find themselves asking, "What is the average cost of transporting a car across the country?" It's a crucial question for anyone planning a move, purchasing a vehicle from a distant location, or selling one to an out-of-state buyer. The answer isn't straightforward, as several factors come into play, affecting the overall price. Whether you're a first-time car shipper or a seasoned dealer, understanding these costs is essential for budgeting and ensuring a smooth auto transport experience.

In this article, we'll dive deep into the average car shipping costs, breaking down the factors that influence these expenses. From the type of service offered by auto transport companies, such as door-to-door shipping, to the distance your car needs to travel, we'll cover everything you need to know. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions when choosing an auto transport company for shipping your car across the country.


Understanding the Average Cost of Car Shipping Across the Country

The average cost of transporting a car across the country typically ranges between $600 and $1,000 for standard open transport, depending on various factors. For those seeking more protection for their vehicle, enclosed transport options are available but can increase the price to between $800 and $1,400. These estimates can vary widely because the final cost is influenced by the distance your vehicle needs to travel, the type of service you choose, like door-to-door service, and the size and condition of your vehicle.

Auto transport companies calculate these car shipping costs based on the specifics of your shipping needs. For instance, shipping a compact car from New York to California will have a different price tag than transporting an SUV the same distance. Additionally, opting for door-to-door shipping for added convenience can affect the overall cost compared to terminal-to-terminal services.

Understanding these averages provides a solid starting point for anyone looking to ship a car across the country. However, it's important to remember that each auto shipping company may offer different rates and services, making it crucial to get detailed quotes for your specific shipping needs.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Transport

Several key factors can significantly affect the cost of transporting your car across the country. Recognizing these elements can help you better anticipate the expenses involved and choose the right auto transport company for your budget and requirements.

  • Distance and Location: Naturally, the farther the distance, the higher the cost. However, the departure and arrival locations also play a role. Shipping from and to major cities often costs less due to higher availability of auto transport services, compared to rural or remote areas where the service might be less frequent and therefore more expensive.
  • Type of Transport: The choice between open and enclosed transport is one of the most significant determinants of cost. Open transport is the most economical option and is suitable for most vehicles. Enclosed transport offers more protection against the elements and is recommended for luxury, antique, or specialty vehicles, but it comes at a premium.
  • Vehicle Type and Condition: Larger vehicles take up more space on the carrier and weigh more, leading to higher charges. Additionally, if your vehicle is not running, it will require extra equipment and labor to load and unload, increasing the cost.
  • Seasonality and Demand: Like many industries, auto transport experiences peak seasons. During these times, the demand for shipping services increases, driving up prices. Planning your car shipment during the off-peak season can lead to lower costs.
  • Door-to-Door Service: Many customers prefer the convenience of door-to-door shipping, where the car is picked up and delivered as close to the specified locations as possible. This service is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping, where the car must be dropped off and picked up from a designated location.

Understanding these factors can help you navigate the quotes provided by car shipping companies, ensuring that you find a service that meets your needs at the best possible price. Whether you're working with a dedicated auto transport company or a broader logistics provider, being informed is key to managing your car shipping costs effectively.


Additional Costs and Considerations

Beyond the basic factors affecting car shipping costs, several additional expenses and considerations can impact the final price when you ship a car across the country. Being aware of these can help you better budget and avoid surprises.

  • Insurance Coverage: Most auto transport companies include a basic insurance policy in their quote, but it's essential to understand what's covered and whether you need additional coverage. This is particularly important for high-value vehicles where the default coverage may not be sufficient. While this can increase the cost, it provides peace of mind knowing your investment is protected.
  • Expedited Shipping: If you need your car shipped quickly, many auto transport companies offer expedited shipping services. This fast-track option will significantly affect car shipping costs, but it's invaluable when time is of the essence.
  • Additional Services: Options such as enclosed transport provide extra protection for your vehicle against road debris and weather. This service is typically chosen for luxury, classic, or high-value cars and costs more than standard open transport. Also, while terminal to terminal shipping can save money, door-to-door service offers unparalleled convenience by delivering your vehicle directly to your specified location, which can add to the overall cost.

Understanding these additional costs and services is crucial for accurately estimating the total expense of shipping your car cross-country. By considering these elements, you can tailor the auto transport service to meet your needs and budget.

Tips for Reducing Costs and Choosing a Reliable Service

Shipping your car across the country doesn't have to break the bank. There are several strategies to save money and ensure you select a reputable auto transport company.

  • Comparing Quotes: Don't settle for the first quote you receive. Many auto transport companies are competing for your business, so gather multiple estimates. This not only helps you get a better deal but also gives you leverage to negotiate better terms.
  • Timing: The timing of your shipment can significantly affect car shipping costs. Avoid peak seasons such as summer and the end-of-year holidays when prices are highest due to demand. Planning your shipment during the off-season can lead to lower prices and more availability.
  • Researching Companies: Look for reviews and ratings of auto transport companies online. Check their track record for reliability, customer service, and handling claims. A company's reputation can give you insight into what to expect and help you avoid potential issues.
  • Preparing Your Car for Transport: Minimize the weight of your vehicle by removing personal items and any non-essential accessories. This can lower the cost since the price is partly based on weight. Also, ensure your car is in good running condition if possible, as non-operational vehicles require extra resources to load and unload, increasing the price.

By following these tips, you can find an auto transport service that fits your needs and budget. Remember, the cheapest option may not always be the best. Prioritize choosing a reliable and trustworthy auto transport company to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience when you ship your car across the country.



Understanding the factors that affect car shipping costs is crucial for anyone looking to ship a car cross-country. From the type of transport to additional services and insurance, many elements can influence the final price. By considering these aspects, comparing quotes, and choosing the right auto transport company, you can manage your expenses effectively. Remember, preparing your vehicle for transport and shipping during off-peak seasons can also help save money. With careful planning and research, you can ensure a smooth and cost-effective auto transport experience. If you're ready to move forward, consider reaching out to a reputable company like ours for a detailed quote and personalized advice on shipping your vehicle.

Ready to ship your car with confidence? Choose A1 Auto Transport for reliable, efficient, and affordable auto shipping services across the country. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote and let us make your car shipping experience smooth and stress-free. Trust us to move your vehicle safely!

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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.

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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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