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Is It Cheaper To Ship A Car Or Drive

Is It Cheaper To Ship A Car Or Drive

If you’ve ever found yourself contemplating, “Is it cheaper to ship a car or drive it all the way?” this blog post is specially tailored for you.

Relocating can be a bundle of mixed emotions - exciting, stressful, and sometimes a bit expensive. But, regarding your car, the story needs to be different. You may think driving your car cross-country is the most economical choice, but let’s unpack this a little. Firstly, consider the wear and tear on your car, not to forget the extended mileage. Then there’s the cost of fuel, overnight stays, meals on the road, and the unpredictability of breakdowns or accidents. When you add it all up, the “cheaper” option might not be as cost-effective as initially seemed.

That’s where car shipping services come into play. At Easy Auto Ship, we believe in providing a more cost-efficient and stress-free solution to your car relocation needs. Shipping your car seems like a luxury, but considering the indirect costs and potential risks of driving a long distance, it is the economical choice you’ve been looking for.

Comparison of Driving vs. Shipping Your Car

Car Wear and Tear

The open road may call to you, but your beloved car might be less enthusiastic. The reality of long-distance driving is that it can cause significant wear and tear on various car components.

Remember that epic road trip you took last summer? You probably noticed your tires looked worse for wear afterward. Also, you had to take your car in for an oil change halfway through your journey because the increased mileage quickly depleted it.

Now, imagine the impact of driving your car cross-country. Ouch! On the flip side, shipping your car to your new state would mean zero miles, zero wear and tear, and zero unexpected maintenance costs. Talk about a smooth ride!

Effect on Car’s Financial Value

Let’s dive into a topic no car owner wants to consider – depreciation. It’s a sad but true fact that driving thousands of miles can put a dent in your car’s financial value.

For instance, if you look at your car’s condition, mileage, and financial value, you’ll notice a pattern. The more you drive, the more the mileage increases, and the less your car is worth. It’s like watching your money go away.

However, there’s a bright side! Shipping your car ensures it remains in the same condition and mileage as when you handed over the keys, maintaining its value.

Speed of Transportation

When considering whether it’s cheaper to ship a car or drive, time is a significant factor. Driving long distances often requires more time than anticipated.

You might hit a traffic jam, get lost on unfamiliar routes, or encounter unexpected roadblocks, adding precious hours, or even days, to your journey.

Remember that trip when you thought you’d arrive in six hours, but it turned into a ten-hour marathon? Yes, car haulers aren’t precisely horses on steroids and take longer to deliver the car than you drive yourself. However, the car arrives safely, and you don’t have to spend a day or two behind the wheel.

Safety of You and Your Car

Safety is paramount, especially when your precious car is involved. Driving long distances (over 5,000 miles) increases the risk of accidents.

Recollect that fender bender you had on your last road trip? That could become a significant accident on longer routes, not to mention the risk of theft or damage when your car is parked overnight at a motel.

Now, let’s talk about shipping your car. Car shipping companies offer safety and security, keeping your car tucked away safely until it reaches its destination.

Convenience and Ease

Long-distance driving can be physically demanding and time-consuming. Remember the last time you drove cross-country, and your back was aching for days afterward? Or the hours you spent stuck in traffic jams?

This hassle can be avoided entirely by choosing to ship your car. It’s convenient, relaxing, and saves you from unwanted stress. So, sit back, relax, and let the professionals handle your car’s move to another state.

So, is it cheaper to ship a car or drive?

When you factor in wear and tear, depreciation, time, safety, and convenience, the scales tip in favor of shipping.

Cost Comparison: Car Shipping vs. Driving

The classic conundrum of “Is it cheaper to ship a car or drive?” often stumps car owners when they plan to relocate. But don’t furrow your brows just yet! Let’s break it down with some simple math. If you’re considering driving your car, you’d have to factor in the fuel costs, accommodation, meals, and potential wear on your car.

Cost Comparison: Car Shipping vs. Driving

Let’s say your car’s fuel efficiency is about 20 miles per gallon, and you’re looking at a 1,000-mile journey.

With the national average gas price hovering around $3.8 per gallon (Sept 2023), your fuel cost would be around $190.

Add at least one night’s stay in a motel (let’s budget $75).

Plus meals on the road (another $58), and your total cost is approaching $325, not including any unexpected expenses or the value of your time.

But that is just for one day. If you cannot drive 1,000 miles in a day, maybe 2 days? For that, we multiplied motel and meal costs by 2, so $150 for motel and $116 for meal.

  • Total driving cost in 1 day = $325
  • Total driving cost in 2 days = $450

Now, let’s consider car shipping. Many believe that shipping is more expensive, and sometimes that’s true. But not by a significant margin if the distance is long enough as the cost per mile decreases with an increase in distance. The cost to ship your car depends on several factors, including the distance, the type of car, the time of year, and the shipping service you choose.

However, at Easy Auto Ship, we pride ourselves on offering competitive rates. For a standard car, you should pay somewhere between $600 to $750 for a 1,000-mile trip. Yes, at first glance, this looks pricier than driving.

But remember, there are no hidden costs here - no wear and tear on your car, no tiresome hours behind the wheel, and no unexpected roadside expenses. Plus, your car arrives at your door without adding unnecessary mileage to the odometer.

So, while the dollar cost might be higher for shipping, the overall value is arguably greater, especially when you factor in the convenience, the saved time, and the reduced risk to your car. So, the next time you need to move your car to another state, remember - shipping might be the more economical choice in the long run!

6 Main Factors Affecting Car Shipping Costs

Now that you know car shipping can be a better option when moving your car, let’s look at the factors influencing car shipping costs to plan your move better and potentially save some bucks.


The journey’s distance is a significant factor when doing car shipping to another state. The price range per mile can vary from $0.40 to $1, so it’s important to factor this into your budget. For instance, if you plan to ship your car for a distance of 500 miles, the total cost can be $500.

If you are looking at a longer distance, say 2,500 miles, you might be looking at a cost of $1,200. It’s crucial to remember that these costs fluctuate based on other factors, so getting a quote beforehand is a good idea.

Car Size

The size of your car is another crucial factor affecting transportation costs. Larger cars can add significant weight to a transport truck, and the price can increase anywhere from $100 to $150.

For instance, the Ford F-150 is much heavier than a small car like a Toyota Prius and will likely require a larger, or even specialty, truck for transport. This would inevitably lead to higher transportation costs.

Transportation Type

The type of transport you choose also affects the overall cost. Open transport typically costs between $600 to $750 for 1,000 miles, while enclosed transportation ranges from $850 to $1,050 (40% higher).

To put it simply, open transport means your car is shipped on an open carrier alongside other cars. It’s more cost-effective, but your car is exposed to the elements.

Opting for enclosed transportation is about 25-40% more expensive, but it provides your car with added protection from weather and road debris.

Time of Year

Believe it or not, the time of year can also impact car shipping costs. Summer is a peak season, and due to increased demand, the prices can skyrocket. Consider shipping your car during off-peak seasons such as fall or winter.

You can save up to 15% on your shipping costs, which translates to around $80 to $275 in savings. Plus, there’s usually less traffic during these seasons, making transportation somewhat easier.

Delivery Type

Your choice between terminal-to-terminal and door-to-door shipping will also impact your car shipping cost.

Terminal-to-terminal delivery can be more cost-effective, but it does come with potential security concerns, as your car will be left in a lot until you can pick it up.

While more expensive, door-to-door shipping offers the convenience of having your car delivered directly to your location.

Fuel Price

Finally, let’s remember the impact of fuel prices on car shipping costs. Shipping companies consider current fuel prices while determining the cost, which can lead to higher shipping costs.

It can be beneficial to keep an eye on fuel prices and plan to ship your car during a period when fuel costs are relatively low.

FactorEffect on Price (%)Description
Distance25%Price decreases with longer distances.
car Size10-20%Larger cars incur additional costs due to increased weight.
Transportation Type25-40%Enclosed transport is a little expensive than open transport.
Time of Year15%Peak seasons like summer may increase prices while fall decreases the prices.
Delivery Type15-30%Door-to-door shipping is more expensive but convenient, while terminal-to-terminal is cost-effective.
Fuel Price5-10%Higher fuel prices can result in increased shipping costs.

Making an Informed Decision Between Driving or Shipping Your Car

Weighing All Factors

When pondering the question, “Is it cheaper to ship a car or drive,” it’s essential to consider all the factors involved. Start by creating a checklist of all the elements that play a part in making your decision (mentioned above).

For instance, if you are a car enthusiast who loves road trips, driving your car to a new state might seem like an adventure. However, car shipping would be a better option if you value time and convenience. These considerations should align with your preferences and circumstances.

An example could be a family moving from New York to California. The long drive might seem exciting initially, but considering the distance and the wear and tear on the family car, shipping might be a more economical and practical option.

Gathering Quotes and Information

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to gather quotes from various car shipping companies. These quotes give you a better idea of the price range and allow you to compare services and choose the best suits your needs. On the other hand, if you are considering driving, it’s essential to research routes, weather forecasts, and potential roadblocks.

Imagine you are a college student moving from Texas to Washington for studies. Getting accurate quotes from shipping companies will help you budget your expenses. Also, researching the route, weather conditions, and potential roadblocks will help you prepare better if you decide to drive.

Considering Long-Term Benefits

In the long run, shipping your car could save you from costly maintenance and repairs. Driving long distances can cause significant wear and tear on your car, potentially reducing its future value. Shipping your car, however, keeps it in its current condition, preserving its value.

For example, if you own a luxury car, the cost of maintaining it after a long drive could be significantly high. In this case, car shipping would be a more economical choice.

Evaluating Personal Situations

Your personal circumstances play a significant role in deciding whether to ship or drive your car to another state. If you have time constraints or other commitments, spending several days on the road might not be feasible, making car shipping a more convenient option.

Moreover, if you need a reliable car as soon as you arrive at your destination, shipping your car could ensure it’s there when you need it.

Let’s say you are a business professional moving from Florida to Illinois for work. The time you spend on the road might not be feasible with your work schedule, making shipping your car the more practical choice.

Seeking Professional Advice

Lastly, it’s beneficial to consult car shipping and transportation specialists who can provide accurate and reliable information. They can guide you through the process, clarify your doubts, and help you make an informed decision.

Additionally, asking for recommendations from friends and family members who have shipped cars before could give you a real-life perspective on the process.

For instance, if your cousin had recently shipped his car from Nevada to Minnesota, his firsthand experience and advice could be invaluable in helping you decide whether to ship your car or drive it yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the most cost effective way to ship a car?

The cost-effective method of car shipping largely depends on the specifics of your situation. For instance, if you’re moving across the state, driving might be more cost-effective. However, for long-distance moves, car shipping usually takes the cake. According to a study by AAA, the average cost per mile to own and operate a car was 60.8 cents in 2017. If you’re moving from New York to California, that’s a whopping $1,750! In contrast, car shipping across similar distances typically ranges from $1,200 to $1,500.

What month is the cheapest to ship a car?

The cost of car shipping also varies throughout the year. January and February are generally the cheapest months to ship a car, as fewer people are moving or buying cars during this time, leading to lower demand for car shipping services. Conversely, the summer months and early fall are typically the most expensive due to high demand.

What is the cheapest service to ship a car?

Among the many options available, open carrier shipping is usually the cheapest service to ship a car. This is because it can transport more vehicles at once, reducing the cost per car. Open carrier shipping can save you up to 40% compared to enclosed shipping.

How much does it cost to have someone drive your car to Florida?

The cost of having someone drive your vehicle to Florida depends on factors such as the starting location, the driver’s fee, and expenses like fuel and tolls. For instance, if the trip is approximately 1,000 miles, and the driver charges $0.75 per mile, the cost would be about $750. Additional expenses like fuel, which costs about $2.50 per gallon on average, and tolls, can add another $100-$200 to the overall cost.

How much does it cost to transport a car from Chicago to Los Angeles?

On average, car shipping from Chicago to Los Angeles can range between $800 and $1,200, depending on factors such as the size of the car and the type of transport service chosen. This is generally less expensive than driving the car yourself, which, could cost over $1,000 to $1,200 when considering expenses like fuel, food, lodging, and the wear and tear on the car.

Parting Words

The best advice is to choose what aligns with your requirements, budget, car type, and personal preferences.

Remember, the cheapest option on the surface might not be the most cost-effective in the long run.

So, whether you ship your car or drive it yourself, the key is making an informed decision you’re comfortable with. That way, you can safely ensure your car reaches the new state without burning a hole in your pocket.


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