Car shipping truck on road

Car Shipping Cost - Why it Has Increased


Over the last couple of years, a global event has affected prices across the board. One of the primary reasons for the price spike has been the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected global supply chains around the world since 2020, and car shipping has also been impacted. But it’s not the only reason there has been an increase in the cost to ship a car.

If you’ve been thinking about car shipping rates recently, you might be concerned and want to know more about why it’s happened. As you might be aware, many factors affect the car shipping cost. 

This post aims to put your mind at rest about the reasons for the cost increment. We’ll also answer the question, “How much does it cost to ship a car?” Additionally, we'll share some tips on how you can keep the cost of car shipping to a minimum. 

What has affected car shipping rates?

There can be many reasons for the increase in the cost of shipping a car. But for this post, we’ve narrowed those reasons down to just three. While the pandemic has had an effect, the following three reasons may have had more of an impact. 

Reason #1: The price of gas

As we all know, the price of gas can fluctuate. Sometimes it goes down, and we all like it when that happens. But there are also times when the cost of gas goes up. Whenever the price of gas increases, any industries involved in transportation are forced to increase their prices to cover the rise in fuel prices. 

According to data from DAT, as of June 2021, gas prices were up by around 35% year on year. Furthermore, a report from CBS News in July 2021 said that US gas prices were the highest they’d been in 7 years, up 40% since January 2021.  

Reason #2: A shortage of drivers

Drivers are the backbone of the auto transport industry. Without them, there would be no industry at all. But, more importantly, skillful drivers are essential for any transportation company that wants to be successful. 

All that aside, there seems to be a shortage of skilled drivers across the world, and this is having a profound effect on the auto transportation industry. The same DAT research mentioned previously also uncovered that there was a shortage of trucks available for the drivers to drive.

There are several reasons why there’s such a shortage of drivers, particularly for long distances. Many are leaving to drive for companies such as Amazon and other last-mile delivery companies. Drivers seem to prefer driving jobs that they can do in a day or even less. 

Many drivers are retiring, and unfortunately, there’s a smaller number of drivers entering the industry to replace them. 

The shortage of drivers is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by industry and transport officials. It can be a fundamental problem when there aren’t enough professional and experienced drivers. They play an essential role in the safe and secure transportation of cars, particularly if the cars are high-end or vintage.

Reason #3: Increased demand for car shipping

In recent years, an increasing number of people have been forced to relocate for various reasons. This has led to an increase in the demand for car shipping.

Supply has decreased, but at the same time, demand has increased, which inevitably leads to a rise in car shipping rates.

What affects the cost of shipping a car?

So, those are the things that have led to an overall increase in the cost of car shipping. But how are car shipping rates calculated?

Many factors shape car shipping prices. In addition to the size of your car and the shipping distance, market factors can impact the car shipping cost. Carrier competition can also play a role in the price you pay. Let’s outline and explain the most common factors that affect how much it costs to ship a car.

  • Vehicle size: Your car’s height, length, and weight can all determine the shipping cost. Ground clearance can also be a factor, with vehicles that are lower to the ground being more expensive to ship.
  • Vehicle condition: If your vehicle can brake, steer, and roll on its own, it will cost less to ship. Inoperable cars must be winched onto the truck or loaded and unloaded using a forklift. This makes the service more expensive.
  • Shipping distance: You can expect a better rate per mile the farther you ship your car, but overall, the cost will be higher.
  • Pick-up and delivery destination: Shipping to and from urban areas is cheaper than shipping to rural areas.
  • Extra features: Extra features such as express shipping, top-loading, enclosed car shipping, and guaranteed pick-up add to the cost.
  • Transport type: Open transport is much cheaper. 
  • Time of year: Auto transport is more expensive during certain months, due to higher demand. The highest rates tend to be during the summer months and holiday times.
  • Price of fuel: High fuel prices increase the operating costs for shippers, which may be passed on to the consumer.      

How much does it cost to ship a car?

We’ve already looked at some factors that can affect how much it costs to ship a car. So let’s give you a rough guide as to how much it might cost in real terms.

Distance Type of transportAverage price per mileSample distanceSample price
0-500 milesopen$0.80250 miles$200
500-1000 milesopen$0.73700 miles$511
1000-1500 milesopen$0.701000 miles$700
1500-2000 milesopen$0.481750 miles$840
2000-2500 milesopen$0.372400 miles$888
2500-3000 milesopen$0.352700 miles$945
3000+ milesopen$0.333200 miles$1122


The average price per mile rates shown above reflect current market conditions as of January 2020. These rates are subject to change due to seasonal fluctuations, cost of gas, pick-up/delivery locations, etc. 

If you want to know the exact price for a car shipping service, you can use a car shipping cost calculator

How to use our car shipping cost calculator

Getting a quote for an auto transport service is a quick and straightforward process. Most modern auto transport companies provide an option online. You’ll find it’s called several different things, but we call it our instant online calculator. 

It’s the same as getting a quote. You have to input a few details, for example:

  • The pick-up and delivery location (zip code)
  • Choose between open and enclosed auto transport
  • Enter the vehicle details and whether it’s running or not.

SGT Auto Transport provides handy drop-down lists to choose the year of manufacture for your vehicle, the make, and the model. If you can’t find your car in any of the lists, you’ll need to speak with a shipping agent. If the year of manufacture was before 1941, you’ll also have to speak with a shipping advisor because a tailored quote is required.

You also must enter your contact details, including your email address. This is because we always email a copy of your quote, so you have one for your records. We also require the first available pick-up date. This is the earliest date your vehicle will be ready to ship.

Finally, you click on the “view your quote” button, and it will automatically appear on the next page. You get to see all the details of your auto transport service. Check the details very carefully. Inputting the correct information is vital, as the details of your shipping requirements and the vehicle to be shipped determine the car shipping rates you can expect to pay.

In your quote, you’ll find the following information:

  • First shipping date
  • Distance to be traveled
  • Timeframe for delivery
  • Vehicle details
  • Location of the pick-up and delivery
  • Whether your car is running or not
  • The type of service you want, for example, whether you want open or enclosed
  • Whether or not insurance is included
  • Two prices - one regular and one for cash

The regular price is when you pay in full once your vehicle is scheduled for pick-up. After that, no further payment needs to be made.

With a discounted cash price, we take a small partial payment once your vehicle is scheduled for pick-up. You pay the outstanding balance in cash or certified funds upon delivery of your vehicle. 

How long a quote is valid varies, depending on the transport provider. As far as an SGT Auto Transport quote goes, it’s valid for seven days. 

Don’t worry if you can’t confirm your booking within that time. You won’t have to input your details again because we have them on file. All you need to do is get back in touch, and we’ll recalculate the cost of your auto transport service. 

If you want to know how much it costs to ship a vehicle with us, get an instant quote today    

Ways to reduce the cost to ship a car

There are some things you can do if you want to keep the cost of shipping your car to a minimum. Here are some tips on how you can lower your car shipping cost.

  • Make your booking as early as possible: The earlier you can make your booking, the more time you give the auto transport provider to find the best deal.
  • Choose open shipping: Open shipping is cheaper than enclosed shipping. However, if you’ve got a custom, classic, luxury, vintage, or a car with low ground clearance, you may need the added protection of enclosed shipping.
  • Discounts: There may be discounts you can take advantage of to lower the cost of shipping. Many auto transport providers offer discounts for veterans, students, and first responders.
  • Multi-car shipping: If you’ve got more than one vehicle, it’s cheaper to ship multiple cars at the same time.
  • Be flexible with your pick-up and delivery dates: If you’re very strict with your drop-off and pick-up dates, fewer providers can fulfill your request.
  • Time of the year: There are a few peak car shipping times. Therefore, it’s better if you can avoid picking those times. For example, it can be rather expensive to ship your car in January and the summer months. Winter months tend to be much slower, which generally leads to lower rates. However, winter is also the “Snowbird“ season. This is the time of the year when many retirees move to the southern states like Texas and Florida for warmer weather and more favorable living costs. Therefore, there is a significant increase in traffic during this period. As a result, you may experience a spike in car shipping costs. 

Is auto transport worth it?

Cars have become an essential part of our lives, and for many, buying one can be a significant investment. It’s a very convenient way to get around, but there are some situations that can be challenging when it comes to owning a car. For example, household moves, students heading off to college, purchasing vehicles out of state, or heading south for the winter. 

There are several reasons why you should consider auto transport when you need to move your car. 

  • It’s safer for you and your car
  • You can customize an auto transport service can be customized to your needs
  • You’ll put fewer miles on your car
  • Shipping a car saves you time
  • Auto transport is an affordable service
  • You can ship your car almost anywhere
  • It gives you peace of mind
  • It’s a convenient option
  • Less planning and stress
  • You can have your car shipped from door to door

Get an instant quote today if you need to move your car from one city to another, across state lines, or to the other side of the country. Use our online car shipping cost calculator, call (864) 546-5038, or use Live Chat.

Get a quote banner