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

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Your vehicle is a part of your daily life. You use it for work, play, school, and more. In most places you relocate to, you need to drive to get around quickly. If you have one or more vehicles you can choose to ship to save time, money, and wear.

The Cost to Ship a Car Per Mile

So, what will be the average cost to ship a car per mile? You will notice that the more miles you travel, the cheaper each mile the vehicle is shipped will be. This is because the vehicle is traveling a longer distance, so there will be a larger truck with more cars dividing the costs of those miles. Also, the more miles you travel, the less each will be. You'll notice it's a sliding scale. It's important to note that the costs per mile mentioned here are for a standard sedans that run and drive.

For instance, 1-500 miles will typically be $1.00 per mile for a regular small sedan. So if the vehicle is taken 300 miles, what you pay will typically be $300. If a vehicle is traveling 500 miles, it's $500. Pretty simple!

Then, if you take a trip that is over 500 miles, like a state to state transport , you will then look at a rate of about $0.75 per mile. So if you take a trip that runs 700 miles, at $0.75 per mile you are then paying $525. As you can see that the extra 200 miles over 500 is only $25 more.

Now, if this a long transport such as a vehicle traveling cross country , then this is where you will notice that there is a large discount per mile. A coast to coast transport ranging about 2500-3000 miles can coast you as little as $0.50 per mile. So that price would be from $1,125 to $1500. That means a trip that is 6 times the distance only costs 3 times that of a local transport.

The table below can be used for easy reference:

DistanceCost Per mileSample Rate
500 Miles$1.00$500
1000 Miles$0.75$750
2000 Miles$0.55$1,100
2,500 Miles$0.50$1,125
Per mile table from our car shipping calculator page.

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.

Price Factors

There will be various factors that will increase or decrease those per mile price points. Let's go over the most common so you can be ready on what to expect for your type of vehicle.

The Type of Auto Carrier

There are generally two type of haulers that will move the vehicle(s) for you.

Open Carrier - Open carrier shipping by far is the cheapest and most common form of transport. This is very popular because of the cost effectiveness of shipping up to 10 vehicles on one truck and since there so many competing for truck space.

Enclosed Car Transport - Also known as "covered" transport, enclosed services allow you the extra security and confidence of having your vehicle in a sealed enclosure within the trailer of a semi truck. This will guarantee that your vehicle does not see the open air where it will be exposed to sunlight, rain, dust, rocks, and more. This is usually a service for classics or exotic cars as well.

Timeframe / Urgency

Unless you have to be picked up in a hurry, a standard timeframe of 0-5 days from the pickup date will be more than enough for standard shipping. For an additional fee expedited transport will allow for a typically wait time of only 24-48 hours.

Vehicle Size

The price per mile examples noted are for a standard small sedan. Larger sedans, SUVs, trucks, Minivans, work vans, and other larger vehicles will cost more since they weigh more and are larger which makes it so the carrier can hold less vehicles to stay within government mandated weight limits.

Vehicle Not Running

There may be the need to move a car that does not run. That could be from a location to a repair shop or a location where it can be safely repaired. Or an auction car that needs to go right to a vehicle refurbisher or used for parts. Regardless of the why, the actual shipping cost will reflect if the vehicle needs to be winched or forklifted.

Time of Year

There are different times of year that shipping costs will adjust. These are most commonly known as the snowbird routes. They take up a big chunk of auto shipping year after year. The easiest way to look at it would be considering the weather. The cold months, they go south. Southbound shipping goes south / southeast / southwest. In the spring they return home. So the rate will pop upwards anything going north / northeast / northwest. Aside from these, dates on or close to holidays like Christmas and New Year's will cause delays and price increases.

The Route

As a general rule, populated cities and towns will have a lot of transport coming to and from. So shipments like New Jersey to Florida, California to Texas, will always have quick options for transport with little wait time and standard pricing. But locations where nobody ships cars will have extended wait times and less favorable pricing. Up to 25% above standard pricing in some cases.

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