How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

Typical Range:

$700 - $2,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated October 24, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

On average, the cost to ship a car in the U.S. is $1,150, but car shipping prices can range between $700 and $2,000 for the typical move. For shorter distances, you may pay as little as $450, but prices can reach $4,000 when shipping via air freight—or go as high as $100,000 if flying the car internationally.

The cost for car shipping per mile runs between $0.75 and $2. Factors like where you’re shipping the car, how you’re shipping the car, and the size of the vehicle can all impact the total cost.

Average Cost to Ship a Car

Average CostHigh CostLow Cost

Car Shipping Quotes per Mile

On average, the cost to ship a car across the country is $1.25 per mile for a distance of 1,000 to 2,000 miles, but per-mileage car shipping costs might range anywhere from $0.75 to $2 per mile. The longer the distance, the more affordable the per-mile rate general is:

Several other factors can impact the cost to ship a car per mile, including:

  • Vehicle size

  • Transportation method

  • Time of year

Cost to Move Vehicles by Size

How much does it cost to ship a car? A large factor in estimating the total is the size of the vehicle itself. For example, a subcompact sedan or hatchback will cost much less than a full-size truck or SUV.

In general, you'll spend between $75 and $350 morefor heavier, larger vehicles. Such vehicles take up more space, and since they weigh more, they use more fuel during transport. This table gives a general overview of how the vehicle size can impact the total cost of car shipping:

Vehicle Type Average Weight in Lb. Estimated Cost to Move 1,000 Miles
Compact 3,000 $900
Midsize 3,500 $1,000
Midsize SUV or minivan 4,300 $1,100
Midsize pickup truck 4,300 $1,150
Large truck or SUV 4,300 $1,250

Cost to Ship a Car by Freight

The cost to ship a car can also vary by freight. While trucks are the most common method for domestic shipping, your car shipping company may use a combination of trucks, trains, cargo ships, and even air transport.

The table below breaks down how much to ship a car via domestic freight. International freight can be considerably more expensive, particularly for air freight.

Freight Type Average Domestic Cost Range
Passenger train $300 – $700
Truck $700 – $2,000
Freight train $800 – $1,500
Cargo Ship $1,000 – $3,000
Air $2,000 – $4,000

Passenger Train

Passenger trains offer the lowest cost to ship a car at around $300 to $700. However, you'll have to use the Amtrak Auto Train, which only runs from Virginia to Florida. That cost includes the fee for shipping your car plus your ticket, which can vary depending on the level of luxury you opt for:

  • Car shipping: $200

  • Ticket: $100–$500

Shipping Truck

The average price to ship a car by truck is $700 to $1,600. However, you can pay as little as $450 for short moves or as much as $2,000 for coast-to-coast shipping. You can choose between:

  • Open-air or enclosed truck: Enclosed truck transport adds $300–$600.

  • Door-to-door service or terminal drop-off: The car shipping company will pick it up at your home for an extra fee, or you can drop it off at a shipping terminal to save money.

Freight Train

Car shipping costs between $800 and $1,500 via freight train. The passenger train is the most affordable option for shipping your car, but the limited route isn't suitable for most people. 

However, this option isn't available to the public. To ship your vehicle by freight train, you'll need to work directly with a car shipping company, which can increase the overall price to ship your car.

Cargo Ship

You'll spend between $1,000 and $3,000 to ship your car via cargo ship, depending on the destination. Cargo ships use enclosed containers. For Hawaii, it's the only option outside of air freight. For Alaska, it's about the same price as a trucking company (e.g., driving through Canada).

  • Alaska: $2,200–$2,000

  • Hawaii: $1,500–$2,000


Airplane transportation within the U.S. costs around $2,000 to $4,000, but shipping your car internationally by plane can cost up to $40,000. Some reports mention prices as high as $100,000. Shipping to some locations within the U.S., such as Alaska or Hawaii, may cost less than international rates, but it’s still much more expensive than shipping by truck or cargo ship.

You likely won’t use this method when you ship your car. It’s too expensive compared to trucks, trains, and ships. But if you’re relocating overseas and need a stress-free move with an expensive classic or luxury vehicle, you may choose air over a cargo ship.

Get Estimates for Your Car Shipment
Compare Quotes

Car Transporting Cost Factors

Several factors can influence the overall cost to ship your car. We break down below the major considerations you’ll need to take when building your budget and choosing a car shipping company:

  • Distance

  • Time of year

  • Luxury and vintage automobiles

  • Extra fees

  • Enclosed vs. open transportation

  • Fuel prices

  • Location

  • Delivery method

In-State vs. Cross-Country

We've already looked at how distance can affect the per-mile cost of shipping a car. However, depending on how far the car is traveling, you may need to consider related expenses, such as surcharges for gas, tolls, and interstate transport.

Time of Year

You can expect to pay around $200 to $800 more in the summer than in the winter due to higher truck demand. You’ll pay less in the fall and winter, except for holidays, but it can be slower to transport your car at this time. Shipping gets backed up in the final weeks of December, and companies are playing catch-up in January.

Luxury and Vintage Automobiles

Luxury and vintage automobiles cost around $800 to $2,000 or up to 60% more to ship domestically in an enclosed truck and up to $40,000 for air freight. Many insurance companies require enclosed transport for high-end vehicles.

Owners of rare and valuable vehicles often go to great lengths to protect their rare or valuable cars. Some of the ways that owners try to protect their vintage vehicles include:

  • Enclosed shipping to protect the vehicle from rain, snow, and ice

  • Liftgate elevators since they’re less likely to cause damage when compared to ramps

  • Door-to-door service to help ensure full protection for the vehicle from pickup to drop-off

Extra Fees

Depending on the company used, method of transportation, and additional factors, you may need to budget for various surcharges, such as:

  • Express shipments: These cost anywhere from $200–$500 more, depending on the time of year and other factors.

  • Added space: Oversized vehicles need more space and can cost as much as double the normal price.

  • Insurance: People often opt to protect their rare or valuable vehicles and incur extra charges; costs vary by carrier.

  • Taxes and import duties: The latter applies only if shipping from or to international locations.

  • Failed delivery: This can add a hefty surcharge of several hundred dollars. These sometimes occur because owners don’t make contact during the delivery window.

Enclosed vs. Open Transportation

The cost to ship a car generally increases by $300 to $800 for enclosed transportation on a truck. Enclosed transportation better protects your car from weather and road debris. However, shipping companies can fit fewer vehicles using this method, which results in a higher fee. All shipping container cargo ships use enclosed shipping containers.

Fuel Prices

When shipping by truck, be prepared for prices to fluctuate with fuel costs. In general, that means prices could go up in the summer, on weekends, and during holidays when fuel prices are generally higher. Fuel prices are one of the hidden moving costs that families often forget to budget for.


Where you're shipping to and from can impact the total cost. Moving from one big city to another will likely find more competition for car shipping companies, which can drive prices down. On the flip side, if you're transporting your vehicle to a difficult-to-reach rural or mountainous area far off the beaten path, expect to pay premium car shipping prices.

Delivery Method

The cost to transport a car to a terminal is less than shipping it directly to your home, especially if your home is in a difficult-to-reach location. If you’re trying to save money when shipping your car, opt to pick it up at a terminal.

Hiring a Car-Hauling Service

Hiring a car-hauling service costs around $450 to $2,000 and sometimes more if you’re going somewhere like Alaska. When hiring a local moving service to transport your vehicle, consider their experience, insurance, price, and reviews from previous customers before deciding.

When planning your move, your vehicle transport options include:

  • Driving or towing the vehicle yourself

  • Hiring a driver and paying for the return flight

  • Hiring a moving company

  • Hiring a car-hauling company

If you’re hiring a moving company for the rest of your stuff, they may offer services for moving your car, whether they do it themselves or subcontract it to a specialty mover. 


Whenever you're moving an expensive item, like a car, it's important to contact a well-established business with a good reputation. Start by checking online for reviews and background information, but also ask them about their experience directly.


Ask for proof of insurance from any company you hire. This proof should include information on the deductible, damage covered, caps, and any exclusions. Any company transporting your vehicle should offer insurance to protect it from damage.

Inexpensive Quotes

Beware of automobile shipping companies that advertise "cheap" or "super-affordable" rates. Some companies keep their prices low by skimping on consumer protections or adding hidden fees, bloating the final price.


Check company reviews before making your final choice. Watch for red flags, like reviews with consistent complaints about damage, slow shipments, or customer service problems. Once you have checked reviews, get multiple quotes to compare against each other.

How to Save When Shipping Your Car

The cost of a long-distance move can be draining on a family’s budget. Reducing the cost of shipping a car can make the overall move more manageable. Here are some helpful tips for keeping prices low:

  • Choose basic options: To save money, choose open-air delivery and have the vehicle dropped off at a terminal in your destination city, then drive the vehicle from the terminal to your home.

  • Time it right: You can save money by opting for a winter move outside the holidays. The cost to hire a moving company may decrease if you have a flexible schedule.

  • Ask about discounts: First responders, members of the military, older adults, and students in particular may qualify for discounts or promotions, but you might also get discounts as a returning customer or for shipping multiple vehicles or paying in cash.

  • Get multiple quotes: It's a good idea to get at least three quotes from competing companies to see who can get you the best deal. But always read reviews of the companies before deciding. 

DIY vs. Hiring a Car Shipping Pro

Many individuals choose to tow their vehicle behind a moving truck while making a cross-country move. While handling a move by yourself might save you money, there’s a lot to coordinate, and the drive can be incredibly stressful.

A long-distance move already carries enough stress. If you can find the room in your moving budget, you’ll probably appreciate contracting a moving company near you to handle everything from packing up your home to shipping your car across the country.

Still Have Questions About Shipping a Car?
Ask a Pro

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to transport a vehicle to Hawaii?

You'll pay between $1,500 and $2,000 to transport a vehicle to Hawaii by cargo ship, but costs can reach $4,000 or more to ship your vehicle by airplane. Most people choose to transport their cars by ship to save money. Other factors that affect the price include the time of year and the size of the vehicle.

How much is it to ship a car overseas from the United States?

The cost to ship a car overseas from the U.S. can vary by destination. The prices that follow are for shipping by boat. International air shipping can reach $40,000 or more and isn’t viable for most people.

  • Cost to ship a car to Europe: up to $5,000

  • Cost to ship a car to Africa: up to $2,500

  • Cost to ship a car to Australia: up to $5,000

Countries outside these continents can cost $6,000 or more, depending on taxes, import fees, and shipping costs.

What's a reasonable motorcycle shipping cost estimate?

The cost to ship a motorcycle ranges between $300 and $1,300. This price range can vary, you can budget about $0.60 per mile for motorcycle shipping. Some cost factors that affect the total shipping price include the distance and location, size and weight of the motorcycle, and the freight type—much like shipping a car. You'll pay more for shipping luxury and vintage motorcycles.

Is DIY shipping with a U-Haul car hauler or flatbed possible?

U-Haul and other self-moving companies offer trailers and dollies to tow your car behind a truck or van. However, after you figure in the added fuel cost of towing a trailer along with insurance and hotels, it’s sometimes less expensive to hire a moving service. Using professional movers also takes away some of the stress associated with a long-distance move.

Why ship a car instead of driving it?

If you're flying to your destination or can't take time off work to drive the vehicle yourself, shipping the car makes a lot of sense. A few other reasons you might want to ship a vehicle include the following:

  • Keeping mileage down on luxury or vintage vehicles

  • Purchasing the perfect car from a faraway state

  • Transporting a vehicle that doesn't currently work, such as project cars

  • Transporting electric vehicles long distances

How do you prepare a car for shipping?

Each shipping company will have any tips for shipping your car, but generally, you’ll want to:

  • Wash and wax the car before dropping it off. The wax will help prevent bugs and debris from sticking to the vehicle during transport. 

  • Photograph the vehicle before loading and note any visible damage. 

  • Take everything out of the vehicle except the spare tire and jack. 

  • Consult with the shipper about any requirements, such as draining fluids from the vehicle. 

  • Drain the vehicle of most gas, but send it with a quarter of a tank full so you can drive the vehicle away from the terminal upon pickup.