Should I Ship My Car or Drive It When I’m Moving?

Moving to another part of the country is a nice adventure accompanied by many exciting and unforgettable memories – both good and ugly.

You will learn great lessons, go through many emotional feelings, and will present you with so many challenges. Moving will also see you leave your old city to another city or state. The question now is – how are you going to move there? Are you flying or driving to your destination? And how do you plan to move your car to another part of the country – ship it or drive it?

Before you can decide whether to drive to your new location or ship your car to your new home across the country and take a flight, or train, or bus to your new home, you have to consider the pros and cons associated with both options so as to avoid making the wrong decision, leaving you with ugly relocation experience.

Although you can save a lot of money when you chose to drive your car to your new home, however, auto shipping comes with a lot of conveniences, and it is worth paying for if the move involves more than 500 miles.

Transporting your car behind an open trailer or an enclosed moving truck is safer than driving t to your new home, which may result in wear and tear. So if you are relocating to another state and you are hiring a professional moving company to haul your household possessions, we advise getting an auto shipping company as well to deliver your car to your new home if your budget can accommodate it.

Cost Implication of Driving vs. Shipping Your Car (at 2,700 miles)

Car Model/Make Cost to drive Cost to ship a car
2011 Toyota Highlander $987.37 $1,147.60
2014 Ford Focus $901.48 $1,035.27
Should I Ship My Car or Drive It When I’m Moving?

In this article

Just as mentioned earlier, the car shipping cost is more expensive than the cost of driving your vehicle at the same distance. Even when you include additional costs such as food, hotel, and gas, driving is still on the lower side.

Factors to Determine the Best Options

So in this write-up, we will discuss how to make quality decisions on solving the confusion between driving across the country and shipping your car. We will consider the important and relevant factors one by one.

Driving Distance

The first step to take when looking for a solution to driving across the country and shipping car issue is to determine the total driving distance between your current and the new city.

This is not the straight line distance but the actual road distance between the two cities. After finding out the fact about the exact mileage involved in the travel, ensure you carefully observe the route factors such as road conditions, roadside amenities, topography, traffic patterns, and so on.

You will be able to figure out the driving duration from your current city to the new one, and the amount of fuel you will need once you know the amount of distance involves and the driving conditions on the road. Your choice might be determined by the overall cost you are able to estimate.

Cost Efficiency

The next factor you will want to consider is the cost aspect if time is on your side for a road trip. So, is the cost of shipping a car cheaper than driving across the nation? Although driving is seen to be the cheapest means to haul a car to another part of the country, however, this may change when you calculate how much it costs to drive across the country, you have to consider factors like the costs of road tolls, meals, vehicle maintenance, fuel costs, lodgings, parking fees and so on.

How Much Does it Cost to Professionally Ship a Car When you Move?

Car Make/Model 500 miles 960 miles 2,700 miles
2011 Toyota Highlander $663.69 $807.11 $1,147.60
2008 Dodge Charger $621.03 $811.08 $1,036.46
2014 Ford Focus $698.41 $697.01 $1,035.27
2012 Chevrolet Silverado $820.43 $843.85 $1,272.07

The prices above were collected from uShip, an online car shipping marketplace where you can easily compare auto transport quotes from different vehicle carriers.

Pro Tip

Note that these prices are not what you should expect from your car shipping job. Car shipping rates are determined by your vehicle’s make, the services, and the distance of the move. Season, routes between the two locations, and gas prices may also affect the overall car transport rates.

This implies that your auto shipping quote may be a little different from what we listed above; however, these estimates how much you can spend on car shipping.

Consult our guide on car shipping prices to understand more about what constitutes your auto shipping rates.

The question is – do you really have to pay to have your car moved? Although car shipping is expensive, many customers prefer it because of the convenience and safety that come with it.

However, we advised that you double-check to be sure. Contact different car shipping companies to know what to expect when shipping a car as it will also enable you to know what other customers feel about auto shipping services and rates.

How much does it cost to drive you when you move?

The cost of driving a car involves many cost and they are as discussed below:


The national average price for gas was $2.45 per gallon as at the time of writing this article, and it is closer to the previous annual averages.

Let us assume you intend to drive your car to your destination home when average prices for gas are around this figure, and your car’s mile per gallon is 26 miles.

Below is a rough estimate of how much you should expect to pay for gas for the upcoming three samples of moves we listed earlier.

Gas prices by driving distance

Distance 500 miles 960 miles 2,700 miles
Cost of Gas $45.97 $87.33 $279.10

Pro Tip

Remember, your cost is based on the calculation with an actual gas price and mile per gallon rating of the vehicle. Use the calculation: Cost of Gas = [distance] / [mileage] x [gas price]

You probably know gas prices are not stable, and it also varies from one state to another, so there is no way one can predict the cost of gas for every move.

Also, miles per gallon ratings of each vehicle contrast, so we cannot pre-determine how much gas you will need for the move.


Meals and snacks are the other huge road driving expenses. If you already shop for meals and drinks to take on the road in advance, you may be able to drive many miles without stopping.

However, if your trip involves a long distance, then you should be expecting to spend between $25 and $40 daily on snacks and meals per the number of people moving with you.


When driving across the country, lodging remains the biggest daily expense. The average cost of a hotel room in the United States is $145 per night, so if your road trip would take you some days in a row, you will be amazed at how quickly the cost of passing the nights in a hotel room could add up.

Expert advice that you should drive only 500 miles or 9 hours daily. If you have someone who can drive with you while you haul your car to your new home, then you can cut the hotel expenses by taking turns in the driving, so you don’t have to stop on the trip.

However, sleeping in a car may not be as restful as sleeping in a hotel room. Both of you could develop fatigue if you drive through the nights so many times and thus making your driving unsafe. Prepare to pay for at least one hotel every 500 miles you drive.

It is also important to note that this 9-hour estimate is only relevant to certain driving conditions. You might need to get more than one hotel if you take many breaks or you get stuck in heavy traffic on the trip.


Although the possibility of getting in a car crash is very small, it is still possible and also increases with every driven mile. This factor is not that really important as you are most likely not to encounter an accident all through the driving regardless of how long the distance is.

We strongly recommend professional shipping if your first priority is the safety of yourself and your car.


Long-distance driving takes more time. As said earlier, always drive a maximum of 500 miles daily. If your destination state is closer to your current state then you might be able to pull off the move during the weekend.

However, the trip could take a week or more if you are moving from one coast to another. Your best option is to opt for car shipping services if you don’t have the luxury of time to do the driving, or you feel like you cannot drive for a whole week, or you have other things to handle in your life.

Added mileage: 

Each part of your vehicle has its limited amount of miles it can drive before it turns unreliable and requires replacement. In addition, your car will not have much value when it has accumulated a lot of mileage, and it is evident in its odometer.

This is why you have to consider mileage as an important factor when deciding between driving your car and shipping it. A report shows that an average American accumulates 1,000 miles on their car each month, which implies that when driving your car to a new state, you are reducing the worth of your vehicle for resale and also taking a month out of its lifecycle.


You definitely want to ship your car across the country in the safest and cheapest way possible. Also, you will also be looking to conveniently transport your car to your destination home. Home organization is a difficult task on its own and so you don’t want to add tough car shipping issues to it.

Car transport companies will handle your car shipping to your new home from start to finish; you only need to get your car ready and be available for shipment inspection.

Your vehicle will arrive at your door or any preferred location at your destination city in the same condition as it was during departure without accumulating mileage.


Insurance is also important in getting your car to your destination home. Insurance cost is not easy to calculate as it is not the same for everyone and every state.

The only option you have is for you to consult your insurance company before departure and seek their recommendations in such cases. An added cost might be required for the additional distance driven.

Should I drive or ship my Vehicle?

Let’s conclude the price comparison. We discovered in the first section of this article that it would cost an approximate of $1,147.60 to ship a 2011 Toyota Highlander from one terminal to another.

The following costs will also be added to the initial cost: food, transportation to and from the airport, flight ticket, transportation to and from the ports (to drop and pick up your car), as well as a rented vehicle while your car is being transported. If you have someone at your destination home, then you will not be paying most of the transportation fee.

Driving your car is likely the cheapest option for this kind of trip but might not be the most comfortable or safest option. Endeavor to calculate your trip with your instincts and personal reasoning to make the right decision. You will also need to mentally prepare yourself for this long drive as well.

Our Thoughts

The truth remains that car shipping is an expensive service, and you can save a lot of cash when driving to your destination home yourself. Auto-shipping is still on the high side even when you factor in the cost of food, gas, hotels, and mileage for a long drive.

However, the most convenient and time-saving option will always be to professionally ship your car when you are embarking on a long-distance journey.

That is why we suggest you get a shipping quote from a few of our preferred auto shipping companies to determine if you can include auto transport into your budget.


You will have to answer the question of which is better between shipping a car and driving it to your new home based on your certain situations, moving needs, and individual choices.

You need to observe the advantages and disadvantages of driving your car or shipping it to determine which is best for you. This is projecting you to your new life, and thus you are the best person to determine how you go about it.

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