What are the costs of driving your car across country versus having it shipped? At a glance, when purely considering immediate costs, it’s almost always cheaper to drive your car versus having it shipped. However, depending on your own priorities, the additional immediate costs could become far less significant when viewed from a big-picture perspective. Here’s how to weigh up your choices…


 

Driving

 

Gas

There are a few facilities available to make it easier for you to calculate your gas price per trip distance:

Miles Per Gallon (mpg): To get a good idea of the average efficiency of your vehicle’s gas consumption, a handy table is available to you at this link: fueleconomy.gov.

Current Gas Prices: The current gas costs in each state are provided by the AAA through a Gas Price Tracker at: gas prices.aaa.com.

Accommodation

According to The Road Trip Expert, 500 miles per day, or 9 hours on the road, is the absolute maximum a driver should handle a day. This means that if you’re driving across country, lodging will be the biggest daily expense by far.

If you’re with a co-driver, however, you will be able to take turns at the wheel. This may be sufficient for a couple of days before fatigue may set in to make driving unsafe.

Food

For long trips, a single day of beverages, snacks and meals could cost you from $25 and up per person.

Wear and Tear

Each part and mechanism within your vehicle is designed to sustain a certain number of miles before it becomes worn, unreliable and in need of repair or replacement. Another factor to consider is that a vehicle with higher mileage will be worth less over time. This is the first of the less obvious costs for your trip, but a long-term cost all the same.

Safety

The AAA foundation’s ‘Drowsy Driving Study’ reports that drivers who regularly sleep for under 5 hours a day, drivers who have slept less that 7 hours within the last 24 hours and drivers who have slept for 1 or more hours less than their regular amount of sleep in the past 24 hours have significantly higher crash rates. Article Here.

In other studies, it has been shown that certain levels of fatigue can be similar to the crash risk estimates of someone with a blood alcohol concentration equal to, or slightly over, the legal limit for alcohol in the US (0.08).

For safety purposes, it is recommended to always sleep between 7 and 9 hours if you’re planning to drive long distances.

Time

Depending on the distance of your trip, driving could require a mere day out of your weekend or it could demand an entire week out of your schedule. The time factor may play a role in your decision-making to a lesser or greater degree, depending on your own personal responsibilities and preferences.

 

Shipping

As of the first quarter of 2020, the following price comparison for professional auto transport was calculated by distance:

Average Cost Across 3 Vehicle Sizes
Miles 150 miles 500 miles 1000 miles 2750 miles
Cost $490 $760 $1170 $1300

Offers and availability will vary over time and are subject to change with market conditions