Ideal Average Cost to Ship a Car Per Mile

You’ve decided to move, got a new job in a new state, need to sell your vehicle to a buyer across the country… whatever it might be, you need to transport your car now

The best way to do this quickly and efficiently is with a car transport service. You simply choose your preferred company, pay for the service, and send the vehicle to its destination.

You might be wondering if this is really the most cost-effective option, however. What’s the average cost to ship a car per mile? Is it comparable to the average cost per mile to drive the car instead?

Keep reading as we break down the car cost per mile for shipping vs. driving so that you can make the right choice.

Considering the Cost to Ship a Car per Mile

The biggest factor to consider when looking at the cost per mile to haul a car is the distance. This is generally the primary reason that a company will charge whatever amount they decide to charge because further destinations mean more work and fuel. 

Companies have to look at the delivery charge per mile closely because they still need to pay their employees, so they need a certain amount of income to make that happen. As a result, the company knows how much to charge for delivery per mile to still gain a profit.

You may pay a little bit more if you have a vehicle that takes extra effort to ship safely, such as an XL pickup truck or a cargo van, for this very reason. In general, you can anticipate a cost between $900 and $1,500 for a standard-sized car shipment. 

What Factors Impact the Cost to Ship a Car?

If you’re shipping your car from one state to the next state over, you’ll pay a lot less than if you’re shipping across the whole country. That could be a difference of a hundred miles versus thousands of miles, so this makes sense. 

Similarly, if you have a compact vehicle, this is going to cost less to load, haul, and unload than a customized, raised pickup truck. The hauling rates per mile are influenced by size because if you have larger vehicles, this means fewer vehicles can be shipped with it. It also means that the hauling trailer will require more fuel and time.

When you’re looking into shipping your car, it’s always important to be honest about your car type and the dimensions it has. If you aren’t sure, get that information before you apply for a quote.

Your vehicle might not be safe or secure if the company that is hauling it doesn’t have all of the details they need, but they also may cancel the service entirely due to the misleading information.

Whether you’re looking into how to ship a car just bought or how to ship a car that you’re planning to sell, the transport companies want to make sure that the car gets to its destination safely. 

Car Cost Per Mile by Vehicle Type

Because the car cost per mile for hauling can be so drastically different depending on the type of vehicle it is, we want to break this down even further for you.

We know that larger vehicles cost more to ship and smaller ones are typically a little less expensive. However, there are categories of vehicles that will help you know what your price range might fall into before you even request a speedy quote on our website.

If you’re not quite sure which category your vehicle falls in, there is a helpful guide online that can help you distinguish between the different specifications. 

1. Standard-Sized Cars

As we stated before, the average trucking cost per mile to ship a standard-sized car likely will fall close to a total of $1,000.

If you’re willing to transport your vehicle in open transport, meaning the car is exposed to road debris or bad weather, you’ll save some money. If you want to make sure that your car is protected from the elements, however, this costs more.

In both of these scenarios, the vehicles are still secure to the trailer, and the trained professionals hauling your vehicle will get it to its location.

2. Crossovers, Small SUVs, and Mini-Vans

Depending on the distance, the average trucking cost per mile to ship this size vehicle will be closer to a total of $1,400.

It can be tricky to know if your vehicle is in this category or the next largest one, especially if you have an SUV. Luckily, the vehicle transport service will be able to give you more information on what category they would put your vehicle in so that you can get a better idea of the price. 

3. Large SUVs and Pickup Trucks

With a vehicle this size, you can anticipate the average trucking cost per mile for the haul to fall between a total of $1,700 and $2,000. If you do have modifications, such as a lifted truck, this is going to impact the price as well. 

The worker that will be transporting your vehicle has to have precise dimensions, especially for larger vehicles. This is so that they know how many other vehicles would fit in with yours, whether there is enough clearance in the trailer, and how they can secure your SUV or truck to the trailer so that it doesn’t get damaged. 

4. Cargo Vehicles

The car cost per mile to haul a cargo vehicle will depend on the size and shape of the vehicle. If you consider high roof cargo vans specifically, think about how the top of the vehicle is so tall compared to other vehicles of the same size.

Due to these discrepancies, the cost is going to vary based on what is needed by the transport company to haul the vehicle safely.

In general, however, you can anticipate the costs to be close to $2,200 to $3,000 for this type of specialty vehicle haul. 

Breaking Down the Average Cost per Mile to Drive

As with shipping your car, the cost to drive a car per mile really does depend on where you’re going.

If you’re driving from Los Angeles to New York City, for example, that’s almost 3,000 miles. If you’re only going from Illinois to Ohio, however, that’s closer to about 400 miles.

When traveling with your family to get to the destination, if you have small children or others that need frequent stops, this means added time to the trip as well. More time on the road means more money you have to spend on food and supplies overall. 

Broken down into simpler terms, let’s say you’re planning to drive from Chicago, IL to Seattle, WA to transport your vehicle. This would be about how much you’d have to spend in specific categories.

1. Fuel

At a gas price of about $3.66 per gallon, you can expect fuel to cost between $300 and $350 one-way. Remember that fuel prices fluctuate, however, so this price might be a little higher than you thought. 

2. Lodging

The trip from Chicago to Seattle is about a 30-hour drive, and if you’re stopping more frequently than you would just for fuel, you’ll end up easily adding some time to the overall journey. This means you’ll probably have to stop at least once (but maybe twice) at a hotel to sleep. 

You can get hotels that are very affordable or very expensive, so this cost is going to vary from family to family. However, the average cost of a hotel is right around $200 per night (which means $400 if you have to stop twice). 

3. Food/Drink

This is an area you can save a little bit if you bring some food from your original destination, but you’ll have to buy food and drinks for the family along the drive. This can cost anywhere from $10 per day to over $40 per day per person depending on what type of food you’re buying for each person. 

Let’s say you have a family of four, including yourself. That means you’ll need between $40 and $160 over at least 2 days to make sure everyone is comfortable. 

4. Other

If you choose to stop at attractions, gather up extra supplies “just in case,” or need an emergency fund, these are all additional expenses. Depending on your family, some of these things may be necessities, so this will easily add to the costs of the entire road trip.

How to Ship Your Car Affordably

As you can see, it is much more convenient and affordable to ship your car for most people than it would be to drive it. However, if you’re still looking into ways to ship your car in the least expensive way possible, we have some extra tips for you.

Whenever possible, opt for the quote that offers open transport so that your vehicle can be shipped with other cars. This is going to be the least expensive option available.

Pay attention to the different quotes you have as well to see which company will provide the best guarantee of service at the lowest price. While you don’t necessarily want to automatically choose the cheapest option, you can still get good quality service from companies that are charging a little less.

How Can You Find the Best Car Transport Company? 

The easiest way to find the right car transport company is by using Carshipguru’s free quote tool. You can easily compare the rates of multiple companies at the same time to see which option is right for your vehicle.

You just put in your pickup and drop-off information, add your vehicle stats, and input your contact information to receive your quote. It’s as easy as that! 

With your quote in hand, you can review the best options available for your needs and determine which company you can trust with your vehicle most. 

Considering the Average Cost to Ship a Car per Mile

Now that we have discussed the cost to drive a car per mile, as well as the average cost to ship a car per mile, you can see that shipping your car is more affordable than you may have thought.

Remember that the car cost per mile is going to depend on different factors, but since it’s free to get a quote on our website, you aren’t taking any risk in learning about what the cost might be! 

Take the time to use our free quote tool today, and get in touch with our expert team if you have any questions about your car’s shipment resources.