How Much Is It to Ship a Car Within the United States?

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated April 6, 2023
A car on a truck.

Are you ready to hit the road in your dream car, but it’s located on the other side of the country? Or maybe you’re moving to a new state and need to transport your trusty ride to your new home? Whatever your situation, car shipping is a hassle-free option to get your car from point A to point B. But before you hit the gas pedal, you are probably wondering, “How much is it to ship a car within the United States?”

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect the cost of shipping a car within the United States and show you how to find affordable and reliable car shipping services. So, buckle up and let’s get started!

What’s the Cost to Ground Ship a Car?

The cost to ground ship a car can vary depending on distance, vehicle type, time of year, and shipping service. Although, to give you a general idea, here are some estimated costs:

#1. Distance

The farther your car needs to travel, the more expensive it will be to ship. Think of it like a road trip — the longer the distance, the more gas you’ll need. Carriers factor in fuel costs, labor and other expenses when determining the cost of shipping. Local car shipping can cost between $500 to $1,000, while cross-country shipping costs between $1,000 to $2,000.

#2. Vehicle Type

The size and weight of your car can also impact the shipping cost. Larger and heavier cars require more fuel and manpower to transport, which makes them more expensive to ship. 

Imagine lifting a compact car versus a large SUV — the SUV would require more effort and resources to move. Shipping a larger SUV or truck can cost between $800 to $2,000, while a compact car may cost between $500 to $1,000 — though these rates always depend on distance.

#3. Time of Year

Shipping during peak seasons, such as summer or holidays, will be more expensive because the demand for car shipping services increases. It’s almost the same as flights and hotels being more expensive during busy times. 

It’s a matter of supply and demand — carriers can charge more when there’s more demand for their services. So, if you can, schedule your car shipping during off-peak times to save money.

#4. Shipping Service

There are two types of shipping services — open and enclosed. Open transport involves using a flatbed trailer without any covering to ship your car. This shipping method exposes the car to the elements during transit.

Enclosed transport, on the other hand, is like putting your car in a garage during transit — it provides more protection but is more expensive. Open transport can cost between $500 to $2,000, while enclosed transport can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000.

How Much is it to Ship a Car by Train?

Shipping a car by train is convenient and cost-effective, especially if moving long distances. It’s important to note that Amtrak currently only offers car transport between Central Florida and Northern Virginia.

Here’s what you need to know about the cost of shipping a car by train:

#1. Factors that Affect the Cost

The cost of transporting a car by train depends on a variety of factors, such as the distance of the shipment, size of the vehicle and the shipping service. Shipping a car by train can cost between $400 to $1,500, but the price may vary depending on your situation.

#2. Cost-Effectiveness

One of the advantages of shipping by train is that it is more cost-effective than other shipping methods. Trains can transport multiple vehicles at once, which helps to spread out the cost among the different cars. Also, trains are more fuel-efficient than trucks, which can help keep costs down.

#3. Speed of Shipment

Another advantage of shipping by train is that it is faster than ground shipping, especially for long-distance moves. Trains can cover thousands of miles relatively quickly, which is helpful if you’re trying to meet a deadline.

#4. Limitations of Train Shipping

It’s important to remember that shipping a car by train also has some limitations. Trains have fixed schedules and routes, so you may need to be flexible with pickup and delivery dates. Also, trains will not deliver your car directly to your doorstep, so you may need to arrange additional transportation to get it to its final destination.

What Does It Cost to Ship a Car by Air Freight?

If you’re in a hurry to transport your car, shipping by air freight might be the way to go. Although it is faster, it’s also the most expensive option, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 or more, depending on various factors.

Here’s what you need to know about shipping your car by air freight:

#1. Get Ready to Pay a Premium

Shipping your car by air is undoubtedly the quickest option, but it comes at a steep cost. This method is ideal for those with no time to waste and who are willing to pay top dollar for a speedy delivery.

#2. Delivery Times are Lightning-Fast

With air freight, you can expect your car to arrive at its destination within a few days to a week, depending on the distance. This makes it perfect for those who need their car urgently, such as car dealerships, racing teams or anyone relocating for work.

#3. Your Car Needs Thorough Shipping Preparation

Shipping your car by air freight means you’ll need to take extra steps to prepare your vehicle. You’ll need to drain all fluids, disconnect the battery and secure the car in a specialized container to prevent damage during transport. Plus, you may need to provide additional documentation and pay for customs clearance.

#4. Additional Costs Can Add Up

In addition to the shipping cost, you’ll need to factor in other expenses, such as insurance, customs fees, and ground transportation to and from the airport. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of all costs to budget accordingly.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Out of State?

Shipping a car out of state or interstate may seem daunting or even overwhelming, but it gets easier once you have a breakdown of the costs. 

On average, the cost of shipping a car out of state ranges from $600 to $1,000 for open transport and $1,500 to $3,000 for enclosed transport, depending on the distance and type of vehicle being shipped. 

It’s important to note that some companies charge additional fees for services like door-to-door transport, expedited shipping, and insurance coverage.

When choosing an auto transport company, do your research and compare prices from different providers. 

Read reviews and ask for references before choosing a company, and make sure you understand their insurance policies and any additional fees that may be charged. 

A reputable auto transport company should provide a detailed quote that outlines all the costs involved, including taxes and fees.

How Much To Ship a Car from the Dealership

You can usually expect to pay between $100 and $1,450 for dealership car shipping. There are some factors to consider when estimating the cost like:

#1. Shipping Method

Open transport is the most common and affordable option. Your car will be transported on an open trailer along with other vehicles. If you prefer added protection, enclosed transport is also available but comes at a higher cost.

#2. Shipping Company

Choosing a reliable and reputable company specializing in dealership car shipping is important when selecting a transport company. Look for companies that offer insurance coverage and have a track record of on-time delivery.

#3.Planning Ahead

Coordinating with the dealership is crucial in ensuring a smooth car shipping process. Once you’ve selected a transport company, work with the dealership to arrange pickup and delivery. Make sure to communicate any specific requirements or preferences for the transport of your vehicle.

What’s the Cost of Shipping a Car to Hawaii and Alaska from the Contiguous United States?

Shipping a car to Hawaii or Alaska from the contiguous United States differs from shipping to the mainland. The unique logistics and long distances involved mean the cost of shipping a car to these locations might be considerably higher.

Here’s what you need to know about the cost of shipping a car to Hawaii or Alaska from the contiguous United States.

#1. Type of Transport

Firstly, you need to choose between roll-on/roll-off (RORO) and container shipping. RORO is a cheaper option, where your car is driven onto the ship, secured in place, and then driven off at the destination. Container shipping involves placing your car in a shipping container, which is loaded onto the ship. It is a more secure option, but it is more expensive.

#2. Cost

On average, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 for RORO shipping and between $2,500 and $3,000 for container shipping.

#3. Choose a Reputable Transport Company

Choosing a reputable and experienced auto transport company specializing in shipping cars to Hawaii and Alaska is important. Look for companies with experience with customs clearance procedures, as it is tricky. Ask about insurance coverage and any additional fees that may apply.

#4. Documentation

Some of the documents you’ll need include proof of ownership, registration, and insurance. Make sure to have all necessary paperwork in order before scheduling the shipment.

#5. Prepare Your Car

When preparing your car for shipment, remove personal belongings, clean the vehicle inside and out, and secure loose items. 

How to Estimate Your Car Shipping Cost?

#1. Determine the distance of the shipment

The farther your car needs to travel, the more expensive the shipment will be. Shipping a car across the country will cost more than shipping it within the same state.

#2. Consider the Type of Vehicle

The type of vehicle you’re shipping can also impact the cost. Larger or heavier vehicles will require more space on the carrier and may be more expensive to ship. Additionally, if your car is a classic or luxury vehicle, it may require additional care during shipping, which can also increase the cost.

#3. Choose the Type of Carrier

There are two main types of carriers: open and enclosed. Open carriers are more common and less expensive but offer less protection from the elements. Enclosed carriers are more expensive but offer more protection from the weather and other hazards.

#4. Determine the Time of the Year

The time of year can also impact the cost of shipping your car. Summer is typically the busiest time of year for car shipping, so rates may be higher. Additionally, winter weather conditions may impact the cost and timing of your shipment.

#5. Get Quotes From Multiple Auto Transport Companies

Once you know the factors that impact car shipping costs, you can start getting quotes from different auto transport companies. Be sure to compare quotes from multiple companies to find the best price and service.

How You Can Find Affordable Car Shipping Services?

  • Get quotes from multiple car shipping companies to compare prices and services.
  • Be flexible with your shipping dates to take advantage of seasonal discounts or lower demand periods.
  • Open transport is usually more affordable than enclosed transport.
  • Ensure your car is ready for transport by removing personal items, cleaning the interior and exterior, and disabling any alarms.
  • Some car shipping companies offer discounts for military personnel, students, or seniors.


CitizenShipper offers a convenient and affordable car shipping platform that connects you with experienced and vetted drivers. 

Our easy-to-use website lets you quickly get quotes, compare prices, and choose the best option. So why wait? 

Start your car shipping journey today by posting a shipment on CitizenShipper!