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What Higher Gas Prices Mean for the Auto Transport Industry 1 year ago

It’s no secret that drivers are feeling the pain at the pump in 2024. According to AAA, U.S. gas prices continue to break records, with every state averaging over $4 per gallon. The issues behind the monthslong spike in fuel prices aren’t likely to subside anytime soon.

If you’re planning to relocate or need to move your vehicle within the next few months, you may be concerned about whether you can afford to ship your car with a reputable car shipping company or even drive it to your new location yourself.

Despite the steep prices at the gas pump, you still have options. We’ll explain how the price of fuel factors into car carriers’ costs and how much we’ve seen prices increase in the industry. We’ll also give you tips on how you can reduce your car shipping costs in the industry’s busiest season.

In This Review:

How High Gas Prices Affect the Auto Transport Industry

The rise in gas prices can’t be pinned on any specific person, company, or government. Instead, it’s a combination of factors that include the coronavirus pandemic and the recent war in Ukraine that have continued to push oil prices higher and higher. As fuel costs go up in the United States, they impact many sectors of the economy, including car shipping.

To offset their costs, truck drivers now have to charge more for vehicle transport. At Sherpa Auto Transport, we’re seeing shipping rates that are about 5%–10% higher on some of our most popular routes. Other routes are right in line with pricing expectations.

The table below shows standard car shipping cost ranges for our most popular auto transport routes. These estimates are for open carrier transport of an operable vehicle. Keep in mind that increased fuel costs and other factors could increase these ranges.

Routes Price per Mile
New York City to Los Angeles $0.56 to $0.72
New York City to Miami $0.98 to $1.20
Los Angeles to Miami $0.48 to $0.66
Los Angeles to New York City $0.48 to $0.71
Miami to New York City $0.65 to $1.20
Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles $0.49 to $0.69
Chicago to Los Angeles $0.61 to $0.88
New York City to Houston $0.80 to $1
Los Angeles to Atlanta $0.48 to $0.74
Chicago to Phoenix $0.68 to $0.92

High Gas Prices Affecting Auto Transport Brokers

There are two main types of auto transport companies: brokers and carriers. Auto transport brokers act as intermediaries between customers and truck drivers to arrange shipments. Each car shipping broker typically charges its own fees when working with customers and carriers.

Because of the uptick in gas prices, some auto transport brokers may be forced to raise their fees, creating even higher costs for customers who are already facing increased transport costs from truck drivers. As we head into a busy shipping season, some companies may be dealing with changes in delivery times due to the price of gas as well.

What is Sherpa Auto Transport Doing to Keep Costs Low?

While other auto transport brokers may increase their prices, Sherpa Auto Transport hasn’t raised any of its fees or prices in response to gas price increases. That’s because we use real-time market data and historical analytics about shipments to provide customers with the actual price it will take to secure a carrier for transport.

When demand for auto transport increases or carriers require higher rates due to factors such as gas prices, the prices truck drivers ask for will inevitably increase to match the market. To keep costs as low as possible, Sherpa Auto Transport representatives educate our customers on the industry and provide cost-effective solutions that still meet market prices.

We provide recommendations to customers based on their needs to keep costs reasonable. This could include suggesting options such as alternative pickup windows or locations.

With every shipment, we also offer our Price Lock Promise to ensure that the quote a customer receives is the final amount they’ll pay for transport.

Driving a Car vs. Shipping a Car

To transport your vehicle, you may be deciding between driving or shipping your car. While you may be tempted to drive your car to your new location because of auto transport costs, there are a few things you should consider.

Driving your vehicle instead of shipping it won’t get you out of paying high gasoline prices. In fact, you could end up shelling out more money since you’d need to pay for gas, hotels, and food if you’re moving a long distance.

Additionally, you’d put more miles on your car, resulting in a possible need for maintenance when you arrive at your destination. And if you have more than one vehicle, you might need to make multiple trips to your new home, resulting in higher overall costs.

Shipping your vehicle eliminates the need for you to worry about additional costs, such as hotels and food. You also won’t have to worry about logistics since your transport broker and carrier will coordinate everything from vehicle pickup to drop-off.

What Impacts Car Shipping Costs?

Many factors affect car shipping costs in addition to gas prices. You can expect to see higher prices during the summer due to increased demand. This happens because many people tend to relocate during this time, and there’s a limited supply of auto transport carriers.

Other factors that could influence the price you pay for car shipping include:

  • Miles traveled: Cross-country shipments have lower rates per mile than shorter-distance shipments, but they cost more overall.
  • Transport serviceEnclosed carrier transport is more expensive than open carrier transport. However, it may be worth the extra cost if you’re shipping a luxury or classic car.
  • Carrier competition: Higher competition between car carrier bids means lower auto shipping costs.
  • Vehicle operability: Inoperable vehicles take more resources and effort to move, making them more expensive to ship.
  • Vehicle size: The type of vehicle you have affects how much you’ll pay to ship it. Larger vehicles, like SUVs and trucks, cost more to ship than standard sedans.

How to Save Money When Shipping a Car

If you decide that shipping your vehicle is the right choice for you, there are some things you can do to keep costs down and get cheap car shipping.

  • Book your transport early: Getting a jump on your reservation will give the car shipping company you choose plenty of time to submit competitive bids.
  • Be flexible: This can significantly reduce your cost, especially when it comes to pickup and delivery locations. Being open to a range of dates will also help keep prices low.
  • Ask about discounts: Many car shipping companies, like Sherpa Auto Transport, offer discounts for students, military members, first responders, and seniors.
  • Choose open vehicle transport: Open transport trailers are the most cost-effective solution when shipping your vehicle. Your vehicle is shipped with others on an open trailer, which typically costs hundreds of dollars less than enclosed transport.
  • Empty your vehicle: Most carriers, including Sherpa, require you to remove all personal items from your car before transport because the extra weight could raise your transport price.

Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport

Sherpa Auto Transport is an excellent choice for a smooth car shipping experience. From the all-inclusive quote process to your vehicle’s delivery, you can expect to receive outstanding customer service. Here are a few things that set us apart from the competition:

Price Lock Promise

With every shipment, we offer our Price Lock Promise to ensure that the price you’re quoted is the final amount you’ll pay for transport. Sherpa will cover up to $300 of the difference if your shipment price changes so that what you pay stays the same.

Thorough Carrier Vetting

Our comprehensive vetting process ensures we only work with the best car carriers. We study accident reports, maintenance records, and customer reviews and complaints to maintain an elite network of trusted drivers.

Clean Car Guarantee

Sherpa will reimburse you up to $20 for a car wash if your vehicle arrives dirty after shipping. All you need to do is mail us your car wash receipt and bill of lading. You’ll then receive a reimbursement of up to $20 on the payment method you used to ship your vehicle.