What Factors Influence Car Transport Cost?

Auto transport is a far cry from what it used to be.  The auto transport industry is safer and more efficient than ever.  Several factors affect auto transport cost: size, weight, and type of vehicle; pickup and delivery locations; open or closed carrier; seasonal prices of diesel and the marketplace determine the cost of auto transportation.  Depending upon which factors pertain to a given vehicle, auto transport cost can range from low to very high.

Size, Weight, Type

SUV’s and larger, heavier vehicles have unique space requirements.  Auto transport companies must take those factors into account and designate more trailer space, and possibly add charges to offset higher fuel needs.  These charges raise auto transport cost.  Also, foreign and vintage cars are best transported in covered trailers (Enclosed car carrier/auto transport) which offer protection from the weather and any road or windblown dirt and debris.  These extras translate into a higher auto transport cost.  The cost of transporting the same car on an enclosed carrier is at least 1.7 times higher than an open car carrier/auto hauler.

Pickup and Delivery

Most hauling companies prefer adhering to set routes and locations for automobile retrieval.  If a vehicle pickup requires an out of the way detour, this may result in additional charges.  Other scenarios can add costs: when a car is being picked up or delivered along the coast several miles from a major highway or if the origin or destination is located in a major city that requires a smaller truck to be used for pickup and delivery, the transportation cost of the smaller truck will be a factor in higher transportation fee.  At the other end of the process, a handful of delivery options can either save, or cost, money.  Door to door delivery is typically more expensive than delivery to a terminal, though terminals may be situated in inconvenient locations.  One can also opt for a fixed date or flexible date.  The latter saves money, allowing the hauling company to pickup and to deliver vehicles within a time frame.

Open Or Closed Carrier

Truck haulers can be either open or closed.  If the vehicle in question can withstand some exposure to the elements, an open carrier is quite sufficient.  Open carriers are cheaper, keeping auto transport cost down, though open carriers are not appropriate for every vehicle.  Owners of sports and vintage cars should definitely opt for closed carriers, though they are more expensive.  Luxury cars, too, benefit from closed carrier transport, protecting their pristine exteriors from any number of varying outdoor conditions, and normal wear and tear that occurs when shipping vehicles.

Diesel Prices

The most important and unpredictable factor affecting auto transport costs are diesel prices.  These fluctuate depending upon the world market, and auto transport companies are constantly scrambling to absorb the changing prices of diesel into their business models.  If too much is spent on fuel, this cuts into the bottom line.  As a rule, an auto transport quote always includes an allowance for diesel prices, so companies can address overhead while keeping diesel in haulers’ engines.  This means a customer’s auto transport cost will change from season to season, echoing diesel prices.