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The Original Car Transport Quote Calculator
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How Much Does It Cost To Ship My Car?
The 9 Main Factors That Determine Cost
The distance between origination and destination is probably the number one factor determining how much it costs to ship a car. The farther the distance, the higher the expense for the carrier in terms of fuel, wear and tear on the truck, and time. The price per mile goes down with distance, but the overall vehicle shipping rate is higher. The rule of thumb is that the average sole driver (no team), will travel roughly 500 miles per day. The Direct Express Auto Transport quote calculator was not only the first in the industry, it is still the best at determining the right car shipping rate for distances short and long.
The length of the vehicle affects the car transport cost. The average sedan or car is about 189 inches long. Any vehicle less than that becomes more desirable to a car carrier because it may allow him to also transport a longer one for more money. In that vein, longer vehicles over 196 inches start to squeeze an auto transporter and he needs to carefully consider how to fit it. Vehicles over 200 inches should certainly be priced higher to help compensate for the presumed loss in carrier space to accommodate other cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s. Our original first in the industry car shipping calculator adjusts for length.
Height matters. Most sedans are about 57 inches high, midsize SUV’s 67 inches and larger SUV’s 73 inches on average. SUV’s are typically priced higher to transport than sedans. And taller SUV’s are still more than the regular SUV’s because it forces a lower paying sedan to fit over or under it. To compensate for the loss in revenue, the carrier needs more money from the shipping rate of the much taller SUV’s. And that’s why height matters in car shipping. You can count on our free car transport quote calculator to factor height of the vehicle.
Direct Express Auto Transport makes sure all vehicles are insured while on the transport carrier. Not everybody is as diligent. The last thing a car transporter wants is a damage claim. The lower the vehicle ground clearance, the more prone to damage, especially when shipping Open transport. A good rule of thumb would be that any vehicle with 4 inches ground clearance and lower should ship Enclosed, where it can be treated with kid gloves. Any vehicle over 5 inches ground clearance should be safe to go Open. It is that middle inch between four and five that vexes brokers and carriers. It can go Open, or to be safe Enclosed. The latter is more expensive by about 40-50%, sometimes more.
All car transport carriers are cognizant of the weight scale stations they must pass through. Nobody wants to be told to remove freight, in this case a vehicle, because he is overweight. Heavier vehicles are also a drag on fuel consumption. That is why vehicles that approach 4,500 pounds and heavier start commanding higher and higher auto shipping rates, which is reflected in the quote.
Is your car operational? Does it run at least well enough to drive it on and off the carrier? Good. You just saved $150 on the non-running fee. It matters to a carrier because it is hard to wrestle non-operational vehicles on and off. The carrier prefers to have the option of repositioning his load, and non-runners put a damper on that flexibility. Finally, there are a limited number of carriers with a wench to handle the non-runners, and that means they don’t ship nearly as fast as running cars despite the extra $150.
Type: Open or Enclosed
Almost 97% of all car shipments go Open transport. That means exposed to the elements. It is the same type of carrier that you often see new cars being delivered to dealerships. Open transport is the most cost effective way to ship a car. The alternative is Enclosed transport. It is the luxury way to ship a vehicle but costs significantly more. The average Enclosed transport price is roughly 40-50% higher. Part of the reason is that an Enclosed carrier can fit only six vehicles, whereas an Open carrier can accommodate nine or ten. Both types of carriers (Open & Enclosed) travel the same distance and have similar expenses. The six vehicles on an Enclosed transport, therefore, must make up the difference in revenue from the Open carrier’s nine or ten.
There are seasonal fluctuations that may affect the car shipment cost, sometimes dramatically. The “snowbirds” from the colder northern states flock to the warmer southern states in the Winter, driving up the price to places like Florida, Texas, California, Arizona and Florida. They return home by the tens of thousands in the Spring, and then vehicle shipping rates in that direction escalate. Our best auto shipping quotes calculator reflects market conditions during seasonal fluctuations.
Location has a big effect on faster car shipping service. According to the 2010 United States Census, 80.7% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. That concentration of people makes it easier on car transporters to amalgamate full loads of several vehicles and get on the road. Even still, it is not every day a full load is leaving any city for another. But the chances of it happening sooner rather than later are higher for routes that have higher populations. No personal information is required to use the Direct Express Auto Transport quote calculator.
How Our States Quote Calculator Works
The New England States
New England consists of six states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. It is relatively easy shipping cars in and out of three of those states regardless of the distance. You guessed it, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Boston is the big hub for auto shippers in New England. Like Rome … seemingly all roads lead to it. Southern New Hampshire, for example, is fine for vehicle shipping because it is a metropolitan extension of Boston. But once a vehicle transporter ventures north into upper New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, it becomes increasingly more difficult to ship cars in a timely fashion. Keep all that in mind when using our Direct Express car shipping quotes calculator.
The Eastern Atlantic Seaboard
The Eastern Seaboard states are generally considered to be New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Nearly one third of the country lives in the states bordering the Atlantic, which obviously means a lot of car shipping traffic.
New York is like a tale of two cities. The Big Apple is America’s largest city and its positive effect on auto shipping extends into northern New Jersey, southern Connecticut and eastern Pennsylvania. Upstate New York has far more in common with New England, a mixed bag when it comes to vehicle shipping.
Almost all of New Jersey is accessible except south of Atlantic City. In Delaware, its Wilmington or bust, as south of there is exceedingly difficult for car shippers. In Maryland, the DC corridor that runs from Baltimore to Washington is great for car shipping. However, the far western and eastern regions of Maryland (next to Delaware) is very problematic. Southeastern Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia area, is fantastic for car shippers. Venture inland, however, to every other region of Pennsylvania and it gets dicey quick.
Following I-95 straight down and we run into Virginia, which is wonderful for car shippers in the Arlington and Alexandria areas, and okay into Richmond and Norfolk. It gets slow in the western part of Virginia near Lynchburg, and southwestern part as well. North Carolina is actually easier for car shippers from Charlotte to Greensboro to Raleigh-Durham. However, those cute towns hugging the coastline from Elizabeth City to Wilmington are tough for car shippers. The same holds true in South Carolina from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head, with the possible exception of Charleston. By far Columbia is the best place for shipping a car in South Carolina. We will discuss Georgia as part of the South, which is the only way they would have it.
Florida is probably the biggest vehicle shipping state in the country during “snowbird season”. Every year the snowbirds from the north flock to Florida in the winter, and then return home in the spring. A car transporter can’t go wrong following the I-95 corridor along Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Orlando, Melbourne, Port St. Lucie, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It’s all good bro. It is the same thing on the Gulf of Mexico side following I-75 through Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Naples. Shipping cars is a like an easy tropical breeze. Get south of Homestead into the Florida Keys, however, and all bets are off. Shipping a car to Key West is like shipping it to Cuba. Who do you think is passing through? Do yourself and an auto shipper a favor by meeting in either Key Largo or Homestead. Central Florida can also be a problem. The Florida Panhandle is like a different state and tough to ship a car there. Use those words of wisdom when using our car transport quotes calculator.
We already discussed Virginia, the Carolinas and Florida as part of the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard. We omit them here and speak instead of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. This is basically Dixie. If you can’t follow a clever metaphor, you shouldn’t bother shipping your car here. There isn’t a thing you say or do that isn’t like something else. Here’s a good one, “He’s about as useful as a pogo stick in quicksand”.
Vehicle shipping traffic is usually good in Atlanta. The rest of Georgia, however, is difficult to ship fast. That largely holds true for the rest of the southern states. The big cities work very well, but the rural areas and small towns tend to be much slower. In Alabama, it is Birmingham that hums and everywhere else … not so much. Almost all of Mississippi is slow, save Jackson, which is only moderately better. In Louisiana, New Orleans is the place to ship a car, but because the Big Easy is at the end of the distribution line it is also sometimes difficult.
Arkansas has Little Rock and little else to speed things along. Tennessee is much easier because of Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. Kentucky has the triangle of Louisville, Lexington and Covington (Cincinnati), which is by far the best place for vehicle shippers. But get up into the hills in the Blue Grass state and forget about it – you are probably waiting. West Virginia is the most frustrating state east of the Mississippi River because of the Appalachian Mountains and sparse population. In the south, dear friends, look for a big city to meet a driver to ship your car quick, or simply be patient. Our vehicle transport rate calculator should help with that.
We consider the Midwest to be Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is not hard for a car shipping company to piece a full load together in the Midwest. Just look at the big cities packed closely together: Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Saint Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Des Moines and Minneapolis. The far northern halves of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are difficult, however. Our car transport rates estimator reflects that reality.
The Great Plains
For us the Great Plain states are Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Amazingly, in that entire huge swath of land covering so much of the central United States, only Oklahoma City is somewhat reliable to ship a car. Isn’t that something? In the Great Plains states, get your car to a major interstate and then pray. We shoot straight at Direct Express Auto Transport. It serves no good purpose to sugar coat anything.
The Rocky Mountains
Colorado is synonymous with the Rocky Mountains, which actually run from Canada to New Mexico. Almost year-round a vehicle transporter can ship in a timely fashion from Colorado. Once the snow falls and until it melts, shipping to Colorado is extremely difficult. That reality is reflected in our vehicle shipping rates calculator.
Texas & the Southwest
We consider the southwestern states to be Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Texas is really two very different states. The eastern part that includes Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston is where most of the population resides and therefore most car transport shipments. Dallas is one of the four easiest places to ship a vehicle, the others being Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. The western part of Texas and along the Mexican border is so spread out that it becomes very difficult for auto transport companies to get things done quickly.
New Mexico has only one reliable place for auto shipping and that’s Albuquerque. No other place can be counted on, including Santa Fe.
In Arizona, Phoenix is wonderful for car shippers. Tucson is alright. Flagstaff much less so. Use our original car shipping quotes calculator to see the difference.
California & the West
California is home to nearly one out of every eight Americans. If it were its own country, California’s economy would rank sixth worldwide. No surprise that California is bustling with car transporters. The Los Angeles basin is a fantastic place to ship a car.
San Diego is good but not great, because it is at the end of the distribution line. Once over The Los Angeles Grapevine, as they call it, which is over the San Gabriel Mountains, all of a sudden the road turns to desert. Things get tough in the desert even for towns like Bakersfield and Fresno. The Sierra Nevada Mountain range is also hard for auto shippers.
The San Francisco Bay Area, which also includes Oakland, San Jose and even Sacramento, is wonderful again for car shipping companies. Santa Cruz and Monterey are actually touch-and-go. It happens, but not as fast as you would hope. North of Sacramento, however, car shipments slow to a crawl. Only shipments heading in a north-south direction along I-5 move fast. If you are using our car transport quote calculator, you will see that rates are best in the Los Angeles Basin and San Francisco Bay areas.
In Nevada, Las Vegas is a very popular destination for vehicle shipping companies. Everywhere else in Nevada is slower, including Reno. The same holds true for Utah, where things go very well in Salt Lake City, except in the winter, but for the rest of the state a customer may sit and wait for a car shipper.
The Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest includes Washington, Oregon and Idaho. It is a huge chunk of territory with only two reliable cities for auto shippers, Seattle and Portland. Boise works fairly well if shipping a car in the western region, but otherwise it is not big enough to attract fast service from the eastern half of the country.
Shipping a vehicle from either Seattle or Portland usually goes lightning fast almost year-round. However, shipping to Seattle or Portland is much slower from anywhere except the Pacific seaboard. The rest of Washington and Oregon is very much like Idaho when it comes to auto shipping … it is extremely tough. The Direct Express Auto Transport rates calculator will provide a reliable quote to ship your vehicle in any of those places.
Direct Express Auto Transport
Hours of Operation
Eastern: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Central: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Mountain: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Pacific: 6:00 am – 5:00 pm
Covered Up To $150,000
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The Car Carrier Network
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USA Car Transport State Listing
The pages listed below provide an overview and description of each state in the U.S.A.. Along with each state, we guide our visitor to some of the major cities in each one, and give tips and advice on how best to ship a vehicle.
Alabama (AL) | Alaska (AK) | Arizona (AZ) | Arkansas (AR) | Ship Car to California | Colorado (CO) | Connecticut (CT) | Delaware (DE) | Washington D.C. (DC) | Florida (FL) | Georgia (GA) | Idaho (ID) | Illinois (IL) | Indiana (IN) | Iowa (IA) | Kansas (KS) | Kentucky (KY) | Louisiana (LA) | Maine (ME) | Maryland (MD) | Massachusetts (MA) | Michigan (MI) | Minnesota (MN) | Mississippi (MS) | Missouri (MO) | Montana (MT) | Nebraska (NE) | Nevada (NV) | New Hampshire (NH) | New Jersey (NJ) | New Mexico (NM) | New York (NY) | North Carolina (NC) | North Dakota (ND) | Ohio (OH) | Oklahoma (OK) | Oregon (OR) | Pennsylvania (PA) | Rhode Island (RI) | South Carolina (SC) | South Dakota (SD) | Tennessee (TN) | Car Transport to Texas | Utah (UT) | Vermont (VT) | Virginia (VA) | Washington (WA) ] [ West Virginia (WV) | Wisconsin (WI) | Wyoming (WY)