Exploring Car Shipping Costs: A Comprehensive Guide From State to State

Brantley Kendall

12 Sep 2023 10 months ago

Car shipping is an important process for those who need to transport their vehicle from one place to another. Whether it is a move across state lines or relocation to a new country, you must be armed with proper knowledge to maximize your shipping experience. Transporting a car may seem puzzling and complex, especially when considering factors influencing prices from one location to the other.

No worries, though! We’re here to break it down to make everything clearer for you. Let’s dig deep into the nitty-gritty of car shipping costs across the USA to clearly understand what’s ahead. We’ll kick things off by exploring the factors that shape car shipping costs – such as the distance, the type of vehicle and the chosen shipping method. But that’s not all – we’ll give you some savvy tips on saving some bucks when moving your car.

By the time we wrap up this piece, you’ll be all caught up on the ins and outs of car shipping costs in the USA and on your way to scoring a deal that ticks all your boxes.

Key Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs

Here are some key factors affecting car shipping costs and how you can save money in the process.


One of the most obvious factors affecting car shipping costs is the distance your vehicle needs to travel. Generally speaking, the further the distance, the more expensive the service. This is because it takes more time and resources for the transporter to move a vehicle a longer distance. However, some car shipping companies offer longer-distance discounts, so it’s important to research and compare companies to find the best deal. Meanwhile, below are some scenarios you can expect to confront:

  • Shipping a car across the country costs more than shipping one within the same state. The shipping company will have to travel a longer distance, requiring more fuel and time.
  • Shipping a car to a remote location typically costs more than shipping a car to a major city since the shipping company will have to factor in the cost of getting to the remote location.
  • Shipping a car during peak season will typically cost more than shipping a car during the off-season. Shipping during peak season is always an expensive deal,
  • The prices pump up during this peak period.

Vehicle Type 

Larger and heavier vehicles generally cost more to ship due to taking up more space on a transport truck and using more fuel during movement. Here is an outline of how vehicle type impacts car shipping costs:

  • Sedans and small cars: These vehicles are the least costly to ship because they require little space or fuel, reducing transportation costs significantly.
  • SUVs and Trucks: Since these larger and heavier vehicles require more room on the transport truck and more fuel for shipping, their shipping costs typically increase accordingly.

Specialty vehicles: Shipping these specialty cars, such as classic cars, motorcycles and RVs, may incur more expenses due to needing special handling or equipment.

Transport Type: Open vs. Enclosed Transport Pricing Differences.

Open car transport is your typical method of moving vehicles. It involves using multi-car trailers that are open on all sides. This system is widely used and trusted among car dealers and individual clients. Conversely, enclosed transport shields vehicles from external elements by using fully covered trailers.

Open Transport Pricing

Open transport is more cost-effective due to its widespread use. The major reasons include:

  • High Capacity: Open trailers can accommodate more vehicles, translating to lower costs per car.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Open trailers are lighter and thus more fuel-efficient, lowering the overall cost.
  • Availability: A high demand for open transport services makes them readily available and competitively priced.

Problem is, there’s a risk. Don’t open transport vehicles get exposed to the elements? Indeed, they do. But statistically, the risk is insignificant.

Enclosed Transport Pricing

The vehicle gets maximum protection in enclosed car transport, but you have to shell out more. Why, exactly? Here are some insights:

  • Limited Capacity: Enclosed trailers carry fewer vehicles, causing higher costs per car.
  • Weight: They’re heavier, reducing fuel efficiency and increasing cost.
  • Exclusive Service: The added protection and personalized service are more expensive.

Ultimately, the choice between open and enclosed transport, both with their pricing differences, depends significantly on the vehicle’s value and your budget.

Seasonal Demand 

Seasonal Demand isn’t just a term confined to the retail world. Surprisingly enough, it also substantially influences the car shipping industry. Just as Christmas sees an increased rush in the malls, certain periods of the year experience a higher demand for car transportation services.

During peak seasons, the cost of shipping cars tends to rise. This is due to the increased demand for shipping services. In contrast, fewer people seek shipping services during off-peak times (like late winter). This lesser Demand often drives shipping service providers to lower their rates to attract customers.

You plan to ship your car from New York to Florida in June. As this period marks the beginning of a peak season, you’d likely encounter increased rates owing to the influx of people wanting to ship their cars, driven partly by snowbirds’ reverse migration.

On the other hand, suppose you need to ship your car in late February, which falls into the off-peak time. Since fewer people generally need car shipping services during late winter, the shipping cost may be significantly reduced compared to the June price.

Comparing Average State-to-State Car Shipping Rates

When you need to ship a car to other state, save your car’s mileage, and possibly even your own sanity, car shipping companies make a great option. But the pressing question follows, “How much does shipping a car state to state cost?” Let’s get the answer by understanding the average state-to-state car shipping rates and the factors that can influence these prices.

  • Distance and Location: The further the state, the higher the cost. A move from New York to Florida can set you back anywhere between $850 – $1000, whereas a Texas to Florida move could charge around $700 – $900. Rural locations may also result in extra fees.
  • Vehicle Size and Weight: Larger, heavier cars may cost more to ship than lightweight vehicles.
  • Season: Just like moving services, car shipping has peak seasons, too, with summer being the busiest. Prices can surge during these times, hinting at higher shipping costs.
  • Carrier Type: Choosing an open carrier is usually cheaper than an enclosed carrier, which offers more protection to your vehicle.

The following table provides a general overview of average state-to-state car shipping rates:

Origin StateDestination StateAverage Cost
CaliforniaNew York$1,500
FloridaNew York$1,300
TexasNew York$1,400
New YorkFlorida$1,200
New YorkTexas$1,300
IllinoisNew York$1,200


Remember, the cost explanation above is just an average. The actual cost may vary based on the different factors. The trend suggests requesting a personalized quote from the shipping company is always smarter. This way, you can account for all these influencing factors and obtain an accurate figure that suits your scenario best.

Understanding Your Car Shipping Quote for Better Comparison

Car shipping is a convenient way to transport vehicles from one place to another. Whether you are a business owner looking to transport multiple vehicles or an individual needing to move one car, having a basic understanding of car shipping is key. Even more important is understanding the quote for your car shipping, which will help ensure everything related to your shipment is accounted for. Here are the components of a typical car shipping quote:

1. Timeframe for Shipping

Typically, two types of timelines are available: expedited service or standard service. Expedited shipments typically involve faster delivery times but also come with higher costs associated with them; standard shipments tend to be less expensive but require more time for delivery.

2. Vehicle Requirements

There may be certain requirements that you must meet before shipping a vehicle. For example, some types of cars may need special equipment or preparation to be safely transported from one place to another. Other requirements like age and odometer readings may also apply.

3. Insurance & Protection Coverage

It’s important to ensure that any damages incurred during transit are covered by insurance and any additional services provided (such as storage). Knowing what is covered by such services before signing a contract can save you headaches later.

4. Services Offered

When requesting a car shipping quote, it is important to understand the services being offered. Common services include door-to-door car transport, terminal-to-terminal delivery, open transport, enclosed transport, flatbed transport, and expedited shipping.

5. Fees Associated  

When getting a car shipping quote, you should know all the fees associated with the service. These can include:

  • Fuel surcharges
  • Paperwork fees
  • Storage fees
  • Pick-up and drop-off fees
  • Insurance costs
  • Expedited delivery fees and taxes

Note: Some companies may also require a deposit before picking up or delivering your car.

Tips for Budget-Friendly Car Transport: Factoring in Fees and Charges

One can certainly avoid breaking the bank when it comes to car transport costs. From careful planning to flexible scheduling, quite a few effective tools are at your disposal. Here are a few tips to ensure budget-safe shipping:

1. Avoid Peak Seasons, Go For Slow Periods

Avoiding peak times and seasonal fluctuations can lead to substantial savings. Peak times typically include summer and the periods around holidays. During off-peak times, transport companies are more prone to cut deals, as the demand for these services is generally low. You might be surprised at how much you could save just by choosing a different season or month for your transport!

2. Flexibility Can Mean Savings

Being open to flexible pick-up and delivery times will not only save you a pretty penny, but it could also prevent potential headaches. Waiting for a suitable slot could lead to better deals. On the flip side, demanding a specific time could result in paying premium rates. So, pen in some flexibility.

3. Plan, Revisit, Repeat

Compile a list of transport services, request quotes, and revisit your options. This method will provide clarity on the best deals available. Don’t just settle for the first offer; instead, playing the field is best.

4. Terminal-to-Terminal vs Door-to-Door

  • Terminal-to-Terminal

This option is more budget-friendly because it requires less legwork from the carrier. You’re responsible for getting your car to and from a centralized transport hub. Sounds easy on the wallet. However, the downside is the potential for additional storage fees if your car stays at the terminal longer than expected.  

  • Door-to-Door

As the name suggests, the carrier will pick up and deliver your car to your doorstep or a nearby convenient location. It seems so personally tailored, doesn’t it? Indeed, it is, but at a slightly premium cost, considering the extra convenience. However, one major downside is the higher price tag. A second downside could be the delay in delivery due to intricate routes and other deliveries along the way. Making quite a dent in your time as well as your pocket, don’t you agree?

5. Vehicle Preparation Saves Money

A clean vehicle lets the transporter inspect your ride accurately for any pre-existing damage, potentially saving you any fees. So, give your ride a good clean before you transport it! Ensuring you are on top of your vehicle’s mechanical issues is also crucial. Problems like leaks could lead to additional charges if not addressed beforehand. Doesn’t it make sense to get your car in order before transport?

6. Choosing the Right Transport Type

Knowing the different transport options available can save you a significant amount. Enclosed transport might keep your cherished classic safe from the elements, but it will cost you more than double that open transport. So, weigh out the needs and choose a transport type accordingly.

7. Understanding Insurance Details

While companies offer basic insurance, it might not cover every aspect. Understanding the detailed terms, conditions, and potential extra insurance charges can ensure your car’s safety without heaping a surprise cost on you.

How to Choose the Right Car Shipping Company?

Choosing the right car shipping company can be a challenging job, especially with countless choices available. Don’t worry! Below are a few actionable tips to help you bag the best deal!

  • Quality of Services

Quality should top your list of considerations. Look beyond the advertising slogans and focus on important aspects such as timely delivery, integrity, and handling of your vehicle. Companies that value customer satisfaction will go the extra mile in safeguarding your vehicle. They will also ensure seamless communication and that your car arrives at the intended destination within the agreed timeframe. Remember, a top-tier car shipping company will always prioritize quality over quantity.

  • Do Thorough Research

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to research. You can build a clear picture of a company’s reputation and reliability by conducting background checks and reading through customer reviews and ratings. Do they maintain consistency in delivering their services? Do previous clients express satisfaction or frustration?

  • Clear Communication

Clear and open communication is a vital cog in making the right choice. Is the company quick to respond to your queries? Do they patiently explain their services and costs? Transparent communication from the onset can predict how the company treats you as a client throughout the process.

  • Seek Quotes from Different Companies

Rule number one in choosing any kind of service? Never settle for the first offer. Get quotes from different car shipping companies and compare. You might ask, “But isn’t this time-consuming?” Yes, possibly, but it’s a small price to pay to know you’re getting the best deal.

  • Check The Company’s Experience

Experience matters. Companies with years in the business have tackled different kinds of challenges and likely refined their services over time. So, how many years should a company have under its belt before it earns your trust?

  • Look at Their Services and Fees

What’s their flexibility like on pick-up and delivery times? Do they offer tracking services? Understand what you’re paying for before finalizing your decision.

  • Confirm the Company’s Registration

Don’t forget to check if the company is registered and compliant with the Department of Transport. The last thing you need is to deal with a rogue company, right?

  • Ensure They Have Insurance

Confirm they’ve got you covered. Accidents happen, and it’s better to be prepared. So before you hand over your car keys, ask, “What type of insurance do you offer?”

  • Transact Safely

Protect your personal information and avoid risky online transactions. Would you hand over your bank details to a stranger? Treat your online transactions with the same caution.

Case Study: Real-Life Examples of State-to-State Car Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping your car from one state to another can vary widely. Many different circumstances can have a significant impact on the final price. Here are some real-life case studies to make you understand it better:

New York to Florida

Let’s take the route from New York to Florida as an example. Generally, the cost to ship a standard car on this route can range from $900 to $1,300. Factors such as the size of the car, the time of year, and the type of carrier required all contribute to this cost.

  • Size of car: Larger cars generally cost more to ship than smaller ones.
  • Type of carrier: Enclosed carriers offer greater protection but come at a higher cost.

California to Texas

How about shipping your car from California to Texas? You can expect to pay anywhere between $800 and $1,100 on this route. Unforeseen factors such as harsh weather or heavy traffic can increase this cost.

  •  Distance: The greater the distance, the higher the cost.
  • Weather conditions: Extreme weather can delay shipping and increase costs.
  • Traffic: Congested routes and city traffic can add to shipping time and costs.

Illinois to Michigan

The average cost to ship a car from Illinois to Michigan is $800. The exact cost will vary depending on the make and model of the car, the distance of the shipment, and the time of year.

  • The make and model of the car: The type of car can also affect the cost of shipping. For example, shipping a luxury car will typically cost more than shipping an economy car.

The time of year: Shipping during peak season (summer and spring) is typically more expensive than shipping during off-season (winter and fall).

Why to Hire SAKAEM Logistics for All of Your Car Shipping Needs?

SAKAEM Logistics offers many services to meet your car shipping needs. They specialize in door-to-door car shipping, which is the most convenient and cost-effective way to transport your vehicle. SAKAEM Logistics also offers open and enclosed car shipping, so you can choose the option that best fits your needs. Additionally, they provide full services, such as packing, loading, unloading, and insurance for your vehicle.

Experienced and Professional Staff

SAKAEM Logistics has a team of experienced and professional staff members who are knowledgeable about the car shipping process. They are committed to providing the best service possible and are always ready to answer any questions you may have.

Competitive Rates

SAKAEM Logistics offers competitive rates tailored to meet your needs and budget. They also offer discounts for certain services so that you can save even more.

Customer Satisfaction

At SAKAEM Logistics, customer satisfaction is their top priority. They are dedicated to providing the best service possible and ensuring your vehicle arrives safely and on time. They also offer 24/7 customer service, so you can contact them anytime you have questions or concerns about your car shipping needs.

Reliable and Safe

Last but not least, SAKAEM Logistics is reliable and safe. They use the latest technology and equipment to ensure that your vehicle is safely transported. They use GPS tracking to monitor your vehicle’s location at all times and offer insurance coverage to protect your vehicle during transit.


Transporting a car may seem overwhelming, yet understanding the elements that determine the shipping cost could guide you to a smart choice. Car shipping services come in various forms, each with its unique pricing structure. Along with the shipping service cost, some other expenses to think about include insurance, fuel surcharges, and extra fees. Moreover, you can reduce car shipping costs by comparing rates, scheduling your shipment early, and opting for open-air car shipping. Now that you have a better understanding of car shipping costs, you can decide which type of car shipping service is best for you. Don’t forget to include all the shipping-related costs and compare different rates to get the best bargain.

Brantley Kendall