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How Much Does Auto Transport Cost?


Here at SGT Auto Transport, we’re committed to delivering a transparent auto transport service for all our customers. One aspect of auto transport we know people are concerned about is auto transport costs. 

If you’re thinking about how to ship a car and are wondering how much it will cost, this post should answer all your questions.

Let’s start by giving you some rough estimates for typical auto transport costs.

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 prices per mile shown above reflect 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 cost of shipping your car, get an instant quote for auto transport today!

What affects the cost of shipping a car?

The figures given in the table above are only given as a rough estimate. There are several factors that can effect the final price you pay for your auto transport service. Let’s take a quick look at the factors we consider when working out the auto transport cost per mile and total price. 


The most obvious factor has to be the distance you want to ship your car. The further the distance, the higher the auto transport cost, although the auto transport cost per mile is lower. . 

The make, model, and year of your vehicle

Another critical factor is the type of car, pickup, or motorcycle you want to ship. Carriers are bound by weight restrictions so it’s only natural that they want to maximize each load. The heavier and bigger your vehicle, the more it will cost to transport. 

The route

Some locations are more popular than others when it comes to car shipping and if you want to ship your car on a popular route, the cost of auto transport will be lower. The same applies if you’re shipping from city to city. On the other hand, if the carrier has to drive out of their way to pick up or deliver your vehicle, it’s going to cost you more. 

Whether your car is running or not

There are times when people want to transport a car, but the car isn’t running. For example, you might need to get it to a specialist garage across the other side of the country for some repairs.

When a car isn’t running, the carrier needs to use special equipment to load and unload the car. A non-running car also takes more time and effort. Both these things are going to impact the overall cost of a car shipping service. 

The time of year

Much like many other industries, auto transport is affected by supply and demand. At certain times of the year there is a higher demand for car shipping services, which leads to higher prices. The holidays, such as Christmas, New Year, and Thanksgiving, are good examples. 

The weather at different times of the year also affects the availability of auto transport services, and ultimately the price. Good examples are the hurricane season or occasional floods in Florida, the Carolinas, and Texas. 

The direction is another factor that is related to the time of year. The snowbird season is a prime example. Between October and December, demand for car shipments from New York and other northern states, down to Florida and other southern states is much higher. In the other direction, the peak time is from March to May because this is when the snowbirds are heading back home. 

Type of auto transport service

You often have a range of transport services to choose from, depending on your needs. The most common options are open auto transport and enclosed car shipping. 

  • Open auto transport: This is the standard car shipping option. Your car will be loaded onto an open-air trailer with a top and bottom deck. This type of trailer allows the carrier to transport as many cars as possible. Your vehicle may be exposed to the weather, road and traffic debris.  Nevertheless, this is the most popular shipping option and one that’s affordable, safe, and secure.  
  • Enclosed car shipping: If you choose enclosed car shipping your vehicle will be transported in an enclosed trailer. This is the most popular option for classic, antique, customer, modified, and luxury vehicles. Vehicles being transported are completely protected from road debris and the weather. The cost of this type of auto transport service is typically 30% to 40% more than open auto transport. 

Additional features

Extra features include express shipping, top-loading, and guaranteed pick-up. You can expect to pay more for this type of auto transport service. 

Price of fuel

High fuel prices increase the operating costs for shippers. These increases tend to be passed on to the consumer.   

Getting a quote using an online calculator

There are hundreds of auto transport companies to choose from, which means you’ll need to request several auto transport quotes in order to make a comparison. 

Each transport quote you get is likely to be different, so you need to examine each one closely. Check the information you’ve provided is correct, because only then will you be certain your quotes are accurate.

The process of getting an auto transport quote is very simple. Most modern auto transport companies provide an online option. It tends to be called a variety of different things, but here at SGT Auto Transport, we call it our instant online calculator. 

To find out how much auto transport costs you’ll need to input a few details, for example:

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

If you use our handy online quote calculator you’ll be provided with a handy drop-down list from which you choose your vehicle’s year of manufacture, the make, and model. If you can’t find your vehicle in any of the lists, you’ll need to speak with one of our shipping advisors. In addition, if your car was manufactured before 1941, you’ll also have to speak directly with a shipping advisor because a tailored quote is required. 

Other information you’ll need to enter is your contact details and email address. The email address is needed because we always email a copy of your quote. You’ll also need to provide the first available pick-up date, which is the earliest date your vehicle will be ready to ship.

The final step in the online quote process is to click on the “view your quote” button. Your quote will then automatically appear on a new page. All the details you’ve provided will be listed, so make sure you check them very carefully. 

Your quote will include 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 

Let’s explain the two different pricing options:

  • Regular price: You pay in full once your vehicle is scheduled for pick-up. After that, no further payment is required.
  • 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 when your vehicle is delivered. 

 How long your quote is valid depends on the transport company. As far as an SGT Auto Transport quote is concerned, it’s valid for seven days. It’s not a problem if you can’t confirm during that time frame. There will be no need to input your details again because they are kept on file. All you’ll need to do is contact us again and we’ll recalculate the cost of your auto transport service.

If you want to know the exact cost of shipping your car, get an instant quote for auto transport today!

Tips on reducing auto transport costs

If you want to keep your auto transport costs to a minimum, there are some things you can do to lower your auto transport cost. 

  • Try to book your auto transport service at least a couple of weeks in advance. The earlier you can make the arrangements, the more time you’re giving the auto transport provider to find you the best deal.
  • Choose open car shipping: Open auto transport is much cheaper than enclosed shipping. How much does enclosed auto transport cost? You can expect to pay between 30% and 40% more than open auto transport. However, there are times when enclosed car shipping would be the recommended option. If you’re the proud owner of a custom, luxury, classic, vintage, or modified car, you might need the added protection of enclosed shipping. 
  • Discounts: You might be able to take advantage of discounts that will lower the cost of shipping. Many auto transport companies offer discounts for students, snowbirds, veterans, and first responders.
  • Being flexible with your shipping dates could save you money. If you’re very strict with your drop-off and pick-up dates, there will be fewer providers to choose from. 
  • Multiple car shipping: if you’ve got more than one vehicle, it’s cheaper to ship multiple cars at the same time.
  • Time of the year: During the year, there are a few peak car shipping times. If you want to save money on your auto transport costs, it’s best to avoid these times. In January and during the summer months, for example, shipping your car can be rather expensive. Winter months tend to be much slower which tends to lead to lower rates. However, winter and fall are also snowbird seasons. These are the times of the year when many retirees move south to Texas and Florida to escape the cold weather in the north. During this time of the year, there is a significant increase in traffic and often a spoke in car shipping costs. 

So, is auto transport worth the cost?

For many people, buying a car is one of the biggest investments they ever make. There are several reasons why you should consider auto transport if you even 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

If you’re ready to make your auto transport arrangements, please give us a call at (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. 

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