Cheapest way to ship car across country | GoShip

The Best Way to Ship a Vehicle Across the Country

Posted on:
Apr 04, 2023

No matter the distance, shipping large objects and equipment is always a challenge. Shipping a vehicle is no exception. Whether you’re selling a vehicle, automotive parts, or heavy equipment, you’ll need to be prepared with a successful shipping strategy. While shipping a car can be costly, you can find a more reasonable price by taking the proper steps.  

1. What is the cheapest way to ship a car across country?  

Like all transportation costs, the price of shipping automobiles has an extensive range depending on size, weight, route, and availability. If you’re moving less than 200 miles, a quick way to estimate your costs according to the industry average is to multiply the transportation miles by $2. When traveling long distances, the cost of shipping a vehicle dips closer to 58 cents per mile.   

A significant variable affecting shipping costs includes the time of year. Expect to pay higher rates during peak months due to tightening capacity. Shipping costs surge between April and July due to increased consumer spending and heightened construction in the warmer months. Prices will fall, then rise again heading into the holiday season. Be mindful of changing weather conditions in the winter leading to higher shipping costs.    

The carrier type is a final contributor to mention when calculating the costs to ship a vehicle. Open auto transportation is the most common and least expensive way to move a car across the United States. You typically see open auto trailers traveling between car dealerships on highways, carrying an average of eight to ten vehicles. While this is the most popular way to move cars, it does not protect your freight as well as enclosed carriers.   

Enclosed carriers offer your automobile increased protection and security against weather and accidents. Even a tiny pebble hitting your vehicle’s windshield during transportation in an open trailer could cause thousands of dollars in damage. Enclosed trailers can be double the price of open auto trailers due to lower capacity and fuel efficiency; however, when shipping high-end freight, the price is worth the peace of mind of knowing your vehicle is safe.  

2. How long does it take to move a car across the US? 

The time it takes to ship an automobile depends significantly on the transportation method and distance. Moving freight 700 miles via plane will take less time than moving LTL shipments 300 miles but costs exponentially more. Reviewing US regulations for shipping can help you better understand the time it takes to move freight. For example, truck drivers in the United States may only drive for 11 hours per shift and are required to take a 30-minute break every eight hours. Some corporations also install speed governors on their trucks to cap the max speed a driver can travel. These regulations make our roads safer but are also essential to remember when scheduling shipments   

3. How can I move an automobile across the United States?  

Planning is the most important thing you can do when working in transportation; waiting until the last minute to ship a large item, such as an automobile, will significantly increase costs and stress. In addition, carriers will be hesitant to accept loads on a tight schedule. There are four ways to move a vehicle depending on your time frame and transportation route.    


Moving a car across the US on a truck is shippers’ most common and least expensive solution. Trucks allow you to ship door-to-door to even the most remote parts of the country. It also allows you to choose between open or enclosed trailer options depending on the value of your freight.  


Shipping by rail has its pros and cons. On the one hand, rail is cheaper per mile and safer than trucks, but more difficult to manage logistically. Amtrak offers direct-to-consumer shipping options if you are moving a standard-sized vehicle across the east coast. Otherwise, you will likely need assistance from a freight broker to ensure your product is moved safely.   


Maritime transportation is typically reserved for international transit but can also be leveraged when moving freight outside the continental United States. Plan ahead and team up with a cargo shipping specialist when moving automobiles to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or any other US territory.   


Who said cars couldn’t fly? While it is the most expensive option, moving an automobile via plane is the quickest way to get a shipment from point A to point B. Air cargo capacity is tough to find, and jet fuel is costly. Furthermore, shipping by air requires coordinating highly specialized employees, from pilots to air traffic controllers. Businesses typically avoid the high costs of shipping by air by planning in advance.  

4. What is the best way to ship a vehicle?  

Ultimately, if you’re unfamiliar with all the intricacies of shipping heavy items, it is better to turn to professionals. A quick and easy way to connect with an expert shipping company is to use an instant freight quotation platform like GoShip.   

Simply enter your route and freight dimensions, and GoShip compiles a list of available carriers. View different rates and customer reliability scores to determine which service is right for you. Working with a certified shipping company also allows you to track shipments in real-time so you can ensure on-time deliveries.    

Ready to move your vehicle across the United States? Get an instant quote online with GoShip! 

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