What’s the Average Cost to Ship a Car Per Mile?

June 11, 2020 transportation of car on semi-trailer

Only 16% of American adults rarely drive. It’s clear that vehicles are extremely important in our society. Whether it’s to go get milk at the grocery store or get to work on time, a car is essential to our everyday needs. When the average cost to ship a car per mile comes up, though, things get tricky.

Because of this, people rarely abandon their vehicles when they have to move. If you have a relocation coming up, you may be pondering your auto transport choices. While you can always go for a nice road trip, another fantastic option is to have your car shipped.

If you’re wondering about the cost to ship a car per mile and more, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss what affects the pricing of shipping a car cross-country and other important details you need to know for your relocation.

The Cost to Ship a Car Per Mile

Let’s start off by tackling the main issue at hand: the average cost to ship a car per mile. Just like how you save when you buy in bulk, generally, you’ll get a better price per mile if you travel farther.

For example, most car shipping companies will charge you around $1 per mile as the base price for a journey that spans up to 500 miles. So in this case, you’d pay $500 to ship a car 500 miles.

However, as distances get higher, the lower the cost per mile. For instance, anything between 500 and 1,000 miles would cost $0.75 per mile, which puts a 750-mile journey at $562.50.

Usually, if you have to ship your car across the country, then this is where you’ll get the best cost-savings. Most auto shipping companies will charge something like $0.50 per mile, which is 50% less than a short-distance trip under 500 miles! So if you’re going 3,000 miles, you’ll pay $1,500.

Obviously, bigger trips will cost more. But when you break it down, the cost per mile will be much cheaper for cross-country moves.

This is because the trucker doesn’t have to worry about scheduling multiple clients in the same span of time it takes to transport your vehicle. This is fewer pickups and dropoffs, as well as fewer coordinations for paperwork and more. So the driver passes the savings onto you.

Factors That Impact The Cost To Ship A Car

Of course, what we covered above is only a rough estimate. There are many factors that can impact the price you pay.

So how much would it cost to ship a car? It depends on when and how you want it shipped. Read on to see what can raise or lower the cost.

Type of Auto Hauler

You can choose to have your vehicle shipped on either an open or closed auto hauler.

Open carrier drivers are much more numerous, which means they’re cheaper and easier to schedule. However, this does leave your car vulnerable to the outside environment, such as rain, hail, or wind. If you have a newer vehicle that you want to keep protected, then you might want to go for enclosed auto haulers.

Enclosed auto haulers keep your car safe inside. Not only does this protect it from weathering, but it also decreases the chance of theft significantly.

However, there aren’t as many enclosed carrier drivers as there are open ones, so you may struggle to find one that fits your schedule. In addition, it’ll cost more for this type of auto hauler.

You should know that no matter which type of auto hauler you choose, the driver will have a current cargo insurance policy. This means that if anything happens to your car while it’s under their care, the policy will reimburse you for the damages and repairs.

Naturally, a good trucker will protect your vehicle as if it were their own. But as you may know, some things may be completely out of their control, which is why it’s vital they have a good and up-to-date cargo insurance policy.

Type of Service

For normal auto transport services, you have 2 choices: economy and standard.

If you’re looking for the cheapest option, then go with economy. This is by far the most popular choice, which should tell you a lot!

This is also an excellent choice if you’re not on a rigid schedule. This is because with economy service, the trucker can take anywhere between 1 to 5 business days to pick up your vehicle. For example, you can utilize this service if you’re a college student moving home for the summer and are flexible with moving plans.

With standard auto shipping, your car will be picked up within 1 to 3 business days. This is also a good choice for people who are flexible but still need to relocate within a certain time frame. In this case, you pay a modest fee to get your vehicle picked up and delivered with reasonable speed.

Expedited Service

If you really need to get your car in a hurry, then go a step above economy and standard. With expedited service, the auto transport provider will pick up your vehicle within 24 to 48 hours! This makes it an excellent choice if you’re on a tight schedule and had another company bail on you.

As expected, this will be the most expensive service you can get. However, it can be worth paying extra for if you desperately need someone reliable to pick up your car and ship it where you need it.

For example, if you’re moving during the weekend and need your vehicle to get to work on Monday, then it may be worth paying more to ensure your car is there by Sunday night. Otherwise, you might have to take a day off of work, which may actually “cost” you more when you factor in car shipping costs vs lost wages.

Size of Your Vehicle

Another factor that’ll affect pricing is the make and model of your car.

A compact car (such as a hatchback) will cost less to ship than a huge SUV. This is because it’ll take up less space, which means the driver can fit in more cars on one trip.

For this reason, expect to pay more if you have a larger vehicle to transport. You’re essentially “renting” more space in the hauler.

If Your Car’s in Running Condition

Some people may wish to transport their non-working cars so they can work on them in the final destination. Believe it or not, this actually plays a part in your auto shipping prices.

Think about it: with a working vehicle, the driver won’t have to do much to get it on and off their hauler. They’d simply put the key in the ignition, start the car, drive it up, then repeat the process once they get to the destination.

Now consider a non-working vehicle. The driver will have to take extra time and money to hire either a forklift or towing equipment to get the car into the hauler. Once they reach the final destination, they’ll have to go through this again, which takes even more time and money.

As you can see, it’ll cost a bit more if you want to have a professional move a non-working car.

Time of Year

The time of the year you want auto transport will impact both the price and availability.

For instance, let’s say you’re moving to a new city right before the school year starts. This is very convenient, so many other parents have the same idea in mind. As a result, the months of August and early September will be very popular with auto transport companies.

So if you try and move during a time of year where many other people require moving services, the prices will shoot up. The car shippers will have to adjust their prices due to supply and demand.

In addition, it’ll be very difficult to find a time slot that’s suitable for you. You might just have to take what you can get.

For this reason, we’d suggest relocating when it’s not peak times. That way, not only will you have more choices for time slots, but you’ll also pay a much lower fee for car shipping.

Route

While distance matters a lot for auto transport pricing, the route will play a huge role as well.

First, consider the starting and ending locations. Are they in cosmopolitan cities or in rural areas?

Typically, rural locations will cost more than urban ones because it’ll take more time and be more difficult to reach for the driver. Also, cosmopolitan cities will have more popular routes, which can push prices down.

The time of year also ties into the route taken. For instance, if it’s during the winter, then some regular routes might be shut down. In that case, the trucker will have to make a detour, which takes extra time and gas.

The Auto Shipper Themselves

Last, but not least, the price will also come down to the auto shippers themselves.

For example, a well-established shipping company with a great reputation may charger higher prices than one that’s just started out or one that has a shaky reputation. This is because you’re paying for their experience and high-quality offerings.

This is why it’s important to do your research and request quotes from multiple companies before you settle on choosing one. When you have many choices available, it’ll be easy to weed out the ones who may not be the best for you.

How to Ship Your Car Affordably

If you have a limited budget to work with, then you might be wondering about the cheapest way to transport your car. If so, then here are our suggestions.

Obviously, you should keep the mileage to a minimum. However, if you’re planning a big cross-country move, this may not be something you can budge on. Otherwise, try to think of convenient pickup and dropoff locations where you can drive to and from so you can cut some mileage off the auto transporter’s fees.

You’ll also want to choose economy shipping, as well as an open auto hauler. These 2 factors can greatly reduce to how much you’d pay, compared to something like expedited shipping in an enclosed auto hauler.

Last, but not least, you should keep an open mind when it comes to moving. If you’re flexible, then economy shipping can work out great for you.

Not only that, but you can also avoid peak transport times, such as the school year beginning or snowbirds migrating home (or south, depending on the year). While you may have to put some plans on hold, it can be worth having a little patience so you can save big on your relocation.

Have Nexus Auto Transport Handle Your Move

Now you have a rough idea of the cost to ship a car per mile.

Of course, the best way to figure out how much of your budget you need to allocate to car shipping is to request a quote. This gives you a more solid number, as it not only takes into account how far you’re going, but also where exactly you’re going, the types of services you’ll need, and the specifics of your vehicle.

Make sure you take your time to research different companies and acquire quotes from each. With a clearer picture of the options available to you, you’ll be able to select one that’s perfect for your upcoming move.

Are you ready to find out just how much it’ll cost to ship your vehicle across the country? Then speak to one of our agents now. You have the choice of using either live chat or a telephone call.