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Tow truck car carrier semi trailer on highway carrying batch of damaged cars sold on insurance car auctions for repair and recovery. Vehicles shipment and rescue service.

Car Shipping Cost

The average cost to ship a car is between 40 cents and $1.96 per mile or from $1,000 to $2,000; prices depend on total mileage and type of transport.

From our #1 rated provider,  montway_logo


11/03/2023 07:50 AM

The Gist:

  • The average cost to ship a vehicle is $760, $1,472, and $1,972 for short, medium, and long-distance shipments.
  • Car shipping costs will vary based on transport type, vehicle size, time of year, distance, and fuel costs.
  • Most car shipping companies offer military and multiple car discounts to help save customers money on auto transport.

Most people don’t spend much time thinking about car shipping costs until they need the service. However, once you decide to ship your car, it can be challenging to navigate the fluctuating prices, cost of shipping services, and many providers on the market.

Fortunately, our team has put together a guide to take the confusion out of the auto shipping process for you. In this article, we’ll cover the factors that cause auto transport prices to vary, as well as how to find the best price for your shipment. We’ve crunched numbers from the best car shipping companies to better understand the factors that determine car shipping costs.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

Our review team polled 1,000 auto transport customers while conducting a car shipping industry survey, and we found that 41 percent paid between $1,000 and $2,000 for their vehicle shipment. Based on our research, trips less than 500 miles cost $1.48 per mile, and for trips of 2,500 miles or more, the price significantly drops to $0.64 per mile.

You can see in the table below how much the respondents to our survey reported paying for car shipping services.

Bar graph showing car shipping costs from our shipping survey

Most transport companies charge customers on a per-mile basis, so it is good to know the average cost per mile when determining if the cost of transporting a vehicle is worth it for you.

Average Cost To Ship A Car

The average cost per mile to ship a car is between 40 cents and $1.96 per mile, according to our research. Shipping prices heavily depend on several factors and may vary based on your chosen company and the services needed.

Average Cost To Ship A Car Per Mile

The table below contains the average cost per mile based on quotes from our intensive industry price comparison review.

DistanceAverage Cost Per MileCost Per Mile
500 miles or less$1.48 $1.00 to $1.96
500 miles to 1,500 miles$.0.98$0.60 to $0.93
2,500 miles plus$0.64 $0.40 to $0.60

*These prices reflect potential costs for using open car shipping to transport an operable vehicle. If your car has specialized needs, expect your car shipping cost to increase substantially.

Top Rated Car Shipping Companies: Average Cost To Ship Car

Car shipping rates vary drastically depending on which company you choose to ship your vehicle. Most companies charge per mile, and rates also vary with distance and type of carrier transport. The table below shows the average vehicle shipping cost with our top-rated providers.

ProviderAverage CostAverage Cost Per Mile
Montway Auto Transport$1,401.50 $1.01
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,475 $1.08
SGT Auto Transport$1,339.75 $0.95
Easy Auto Ship$1,516.75 $1.10
uShip$1,659 $1.14

Car Shipping Cost Calculator

Use our car shipping calculator below to get free instant quotes and compare quotes from multiple auto transport companies without providing personal information.

How Much Will It Cost to Ship a Car? Looking for a car shipping quote? Check out our tool to get a quote customized to your moving journey.
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About how many miles do you plan to ship your vehicle?

What type of transport would you prefer?Open transport is the most common, but enclosed transport ensures your vehicle’s safety from harsh elements and vandalism.

What type of vehicle are you shipping?

Your Estimated Shipping Cost Estimates are based on your calculator inputs and gathered from our research team’s custom quotes of 6 major brokers in the industry. This is an estimate, NOT an official quote.
Get a Free Estimate From Montway

Calculate Car Shipping Costs

To calculate car shipping costs, there are several important factors that affect your rate. These include: 

  • Provider: Each company offers different rates, so compare your options to find the best price. 
  • Time of year: The summer months and January tend to have higher transport costs as families move or migrate down south to escape the cold.
  • Vehicle size and type: The larger or newer the car, the more expensive moving it will probably be. 
  • Vehicle condition: Operable cars will cost significantly less to ship than inoperable ones.
  • Urgency: The sooner you need the delivery date to be, the pricier your vehicle shipment. Conversely, being flexible with your pickup and delivery dates will help bring your prices down. 
  • Competition: The more auto transport providers that serve a route, the cheaper it will be. Routes that serve larger cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle typically cost less.
  • Transport type: Open car transport is generally the cheapest way to ship a car, while enclosed shipping is more expensive.
  • Distance: Cross-country routes, such as from California to Florida, and long-distance and overseas routes, such as shipping a car to Hawaii, cost more overall than regional routes but less per mile.
  • Delivery method: Door-to-door service is pricier than terminal-to-terminal drop-off. However, not all providers offer terminal-to-terminal services. Make sure to see if there is a terminal near your home if that is your preferred delivery method.
  • Price of fuel: If fuel is expensive, expect your car shipping services to be as well.
  • Add-ons: Extra insurance, expedited delivery, and single-car transport increase rates.

Cost To Ship A Car By Distance

The cost to ship a vehicle depends on the distance your vehicle needs to be transported. Short-distance car shipping is less expensive than long-distance shipping in terms of total cost, yet long-distance shipping is more affordable per mile. In the following sections, we will highlight how distance affects shipping costs.

Short-Distance Car Transport Costs

A short-distance car shipment can range from $500 to $1,800. Shorter transport distances are typically cheaper overall than enclosed shipments, but the cost per mile is slightly higher. The table below shows the lowest, highest, and average cost of short-distance shipping prices our review team received from 18 car shipping companies:

DistanceCostCost Per Mile
Lowest Cost500 miles or less$500 $0.97
Average Cost500 miles or less$760 $1.48
Highest Cost500 miles or less$1,800 $3.50

*Costs are for an operable 2018 Hyundai Elantra using open-car transport.

Long-Distance Car Shipping Costs

A cross-country shipment from Washington, DC to Seattle, Washington costs between $1,174 and $2,740. While long-distance shipping costs exceed shorter distances, the overall cost per mile is lower. Some providers, such as AmeriFreight, offer prices as low as $0.43 per mile. Below are the lowest, highest, and average costs our review team received for long-distance open car transport services.

CostCost Per Mile
Lowest Cost$1,174$0.43
Average Cost$1,600.36$0.58
Highest Cost$2,740$0.99

*Prices are for an operable 2020 Hyundai Elantra using open transport. 

Remember that these numbers are just rate estimates and your transport needs will factor into your overall price. The best way to determine your average car transport cost is by getting free car shipping quotes online from multiple car delivery providers.

Car Shipping Prices By Carrier Type

On average, open shipping is $328 less expensive than enclosed shipping for distances of 1,500 miles or less. As part of our industry survey, we found that the price of shipping a car via enclosed transport is significantly higher. 

In the following sections, we will break down the average of open and enclosed shipping to demonstrate the price difference between the two car transport services.

Open Car Shipping Cost

Our review team gathered information on the average cost of open transport for a 1,504-mile shipment. We found a price range from $955 to $2,440, with the average cost totaling $1,508 or $1.00 per mile. Below are all the prices we received during our industry study. You can see the complete breakdown of the cost and cost per mile for open carrier transport services.

CostCost Per Mile
Lowest Cost$955$0.63
Average Cost$1,508$1.00
Highest Cost$2,440$1.62

Enclosed Car Shipping Cost

Our research shows that enclosed shipping costs can range between $1,265 and $4,090; the average price is $1,800 or $1.20 per mile. Enclosed transport protects valuable vehicles, such as classic cars and luxury brand automobiles, from the weather and road hazards, so it comes with a premium price. Below is a table showing the lowest, highest, and average cost and cost per mile for enclosed carrier transport services.

CostCost Per Mile
Lowest Cost$1,265$0.84
Average Cost$1,800$1.20
Highest Cost$4,090$2.72

Enclosed shipping is less common than open transport services and requires specialized trailers, so fewer carriers offer the service. If you use enclosed shipping, ensure that your vehicle is protected by choosing a  reputable, experienced enclosed carrier. You can click below to get instant free quotes from our top providers that offer outstanding enclosed shipping services.

How To Ship Your Car For Cheap

Car transport costs don’t always have to be sky-high. If you’re willing to plan, take initiative, and keep your options open, you can find high-quality transport at surprisingly low rates. Follow the tips below to learn how to ship a car with reduced costs.

  1. Book early: It’s never too soon to lock down below-average auto transport quotes. Advanced booking is the best way to avoid paying extra for expedited shipping.
  2. Open up your delivery timeframe: Save money by adding flexibility with pickup dates and pickup locations. If you need a more specific time, it will most likely come at a higher cost.
  3. Choose open transport: Enclosed transport tends to be more expensive than open transport. Usually, unless you have a classic car, open carriers will work for you.
  4. Pick terminal-to-terminal delivery if available: Home delivery is nice and convenient, but you’ll find lower prices with terminal-to-terminal shipping.
  5. Consider guaranteed pricing: Your original quote will stand, however, not every company offers this. 
  6. Look for discounts: Most car shippers offer reduced rates for certain customers, including military discounts and discounts for paying cash.
  7. Get multiple quotes: Be sure to compare car shipping quotes online from various providers.

Additional Car Shipping Costs

There are a few add-ons you may want to consider even if you are looking for the lowest car shipping cost. Below are the additional services and fees that you may want to add to your car shipment or avoid altogether.

  • Add-on insurance: Carriers are required to carry basic liability coverage. However, most car shipping companies offer gap coverage that you can purchase for an additional fee.
  • Expedited shipping fee: Expedited shipping is available for people who need their car shipped quickly. Most auto transport companies offer expedited shipping, but the quicker service increases the cost of shipping a car. 
  • Cancellation fee: Once you book your carrier, you are committed to shipping your vehicle, and if you cancel, you will be required to pay a fee. Fees vary depending on providers.

Car Shipping Rates: What To Know

One key variable affecting car shipping costs is distance. Generally speaking, long-distance moves lead to lower costs per mile but higher overall price tags. If you order an immediate move using an enclosed carrier, expect a steep rate.

Here are some key factors that are likely to affect your car shipping costs:

A visual list of items that affect car shipping prices

Car Shipping Discounts

To simplify the process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top discounts offered by AmeriFreight and Montway Auto Transport, two of the best players in the car shipment space. Check out the following discounts to see if you qualify for any:

Car Shipping CompaniesDiscounts Offered
  • Early bird
  • First responders
  • Medical personnel
  • Military
  • Multiple vehicles
  • Returning customer
  • Senior citizens
  • Student
Montway Auto Transport
  • Cash payment
  • Military
  • Multiple vehicles
  • Returning customer

However, the easiest way to find low car shipping costs is by comparing instant quotes from multiple auto transport companies side by side.

Cost To Ship A Car: Conclusion

This review detailed the ins and outs of car shipping costs. As you saw above, the prices of open transport are much lower, and the per-mile cost of long-distance trips is lower than short-distance trips. While car shipping costs continuously change, a few providers consistently offer excellent service at easy-to-handle prices. Two of the best vehicle shipping options are AmeriFreight and Montway Auto Transport.

Best Auto Shipping Companies: Auto Shipping Costs

Costs in the auto transport industry can vary by provider and shipment, so it’s important to compare companies when you shop. Our review team found that Montway Auto Transport has the best overall rating for car shipping providers, and AmeriFreight has the best cost rating.

Below is a deeper look into both AmeriFreight and Montway:

Montway Auto Transport: 4.7 Stars

Montway Auto Transport consistently carries some of the lowest car shipping costs in the country. Speedy service and conscientious truckers only add to Montway Auto Transport’s value proposition, drawing in customers searching for affordable and reliable car shipping.

Based on Montway Auto Transport’s high customer review scores from Trustpilot and the BBB, customers overwhelmingly seem to be pleased with the provider. That’s part of why our team named it the Best Reputation provider for low car shipping costs.

Montway Auto Transport Cost

Below is the average cost to ship a car using Montway Auto Transport.

Average CostAverage Cost Per Mile
$1,401.50 $1.01
Montway Auto Transport Best Reputation
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-601-0286 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Strong reputation, customer satisfaction, and industry ratings Carrier vetting Large network of 30,000+ carriers Offers expedited delivery Competitive pricing Cons No real-time tracking or mobile-app; must contact company for tracking info No guaranteed pricing $249 cancellation fee No specialty shipping services for recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, trailers, or other watercraft Intrusive Pop-up Ads

Montway Auto Transport is a reputable auto transport broker offering several car shipping services and cheap car shipping rates. We named it the Best Reputation car shipping company for 2024.

AmeriFreight: 4.8 Stars

Getting discounts is one of the best ways to lower your car shipping costs, and AmeriFreight offers several ways to save. The Peachtree City, Georgia-based provider has been a customer service leader for years, and its various price reductions mean nearly everyone can save with AmeriFreight.

From savings for signing up within 48 hours of receiving a quote to a senior citizen special, AmeriFreight offers a number of discounts. However, the early bird discount is the only one that can be combined with another AmeriFreight discount.

The transport broker shines in customer satisfaction, receiving 4.7 stars from more than 3,000 Google reviews. Because of its happy clients and potential saving opportunities, we named AmeriFreight the provider that’s Best for Discounts.

AmeriFreight Prices

You can see the average cost to use Amerifreight to ship your vehicle in the table below.

Average CostAverage Cost Per Mile
$1,140.25 $0.94
AmeriFreight Best for Discounts
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 855-460-6609 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Affordable rates and several discount opportunities available Thorough carrier vetting process Excellent reviews on BBB; A+ rating and accreditation Offers a guaranteed price option Delivers coast to coast Cons No real-time GPS tracking or mobile app Charges extra for insurance No locked-in rates No international shipping

AmeriFreight is a leading car shipping broker that partners with over 10,000 car carriers to deliver a wide range of auto transport services. The company also works with government agencies, vehicle manufacturers, and retailers to deliver outsourced logistics services and shipping on a large scale.

Cost Of Shipping A Car: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about the cost of shipping a car:

What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?

The best way to lower your car shipping cost is by selecting open vehicle transport while keeping a flexible timetable for delivery. To find the absolute lowest price available, we recommend using a quote tool to compare multiple options.

Is it worth shipping a car?

It is often, but not always, worth it to ship a car. Using an auto transport service can provide peace of mind while saving you the time it would otherwise take to drive. If you don’t mind the hassle of driving or have a car you’re ready to replace, car shipping may not be right for you.

Should you drive or ship your car?

Whether you should drive or ship a car comes down to personal preference. If you have plenty of time and aren’t worried about time on the road, it may be better to drive. Driving might add stress to the journey, though.

What is the best company to ship a car?

We named Montway Auto Transport the best car shipping company overall. Keep in mind, though, that the best provider for you may vary depending on what you’re looking for. Easy Auto Ship, Sherpa Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, and uShip are also worth checking out.

Why is car shipping so expensive?

In long-distance car shipping, prices depend on a variety of factors. Labor, gas charges, and toll costs add up and can make car shipping costs rise. The farther the distance being shipped and the time of year are other factors that can impact shipping prices.

How We Rate Auto Shippers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While there are multiple qualities that make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
  • Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and the ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
  • Reputation: It’s important that a car shipping provider is able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Customer Experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.