Is It Cheaper To Ship Two Cars At Once?

When moving across states, shipping cars can be a major expense on top of relocation costs. Many wonder if the overall cost would be lower if two vehicles were shipped together in the same transport rather than shipping them individually. In this article, we analyze the different factors that determine auto transport costs and whether bundling two vehicles provides any savings.

Comparing Individual vs Joint Shipping Quotes

The first step is to get shipping quotes for transporting one car vs two cars together from auto transport companies. Most reputable carriers provide free online quotes based on origin, destination, vehicle details and preferred dates.

Comparing individual vs joint quotes from the same company reveals if any discount is applied for bundling vehicles. In some cases, joint shipping may be 5-10% cheaper than the total for shipping twice. However, the savings aren’t guaranteed and depend on route, vehicle sizes, demand and other operational factors unique to each carrier.

Understanding Factors That Impact Pricing

To understand why joint shipping isn’t always cheaper, it’s important to look at the key components that determine auto transport costs:

Vehicle Capacity and Dimensions

Larger enclosed car carriers have fixed capacity in terms of vehicle slots. Transporting two full-size SUVs together leaves less room than shipping two compact cars. Carriers factor unused space into pricing and smaller joint loads may not qualify for discounts.

Route Length and Terrain

Longer distances mean higher fuel costs which get passed on to customers. Mountainous routes requiring additional safety infrastructure also drive up prices. As route difficulty increases, savings from joint loads tend to diminish.

Drop-off Locations

Shipping to adjacent areas allows loading/unloading two cars with minimal additional effort. However, destinations miles apart means dedicating resources to multiple stops instead of a single delivery, reducing potential savings.

Time of Booking

Last minute bookings during peak seasons have premium rates regardless of single vs joint shipments. Joint discounts are more likely if booked well in advance when transport fleets have flexibility to bundle loads efficiently.

Demand and Fleet Utilization

When auto transport demand is high, carriers try to maximize profits from every loaded mile. Joint discounts may not be offered as fleets are already running at full utilization. Savings are more common in off-peak periods.

Understanding how these variables are weighed by individual carriers explains why the joint shipping cost calculation isn’t simply double the single car rate minus a flat percentage. True savings are situation dependent.

Potential Additional Fees

It’s also important to be aware of additional charges that may negate any joint shipping discount. These include:

  • Stopping Fees: As mentioned earlier, destinations too far apart incur multiple stoppage charges.
  • Oversize Vehicle Fees: Transporting a large SUV with a compact car provides no cubic capacity benefits. Both may be charged standard oversized vehicle rates.
  • Toll and Border Crossing Expenses: These add up whether transporting one or two vehicles so joint loads see little impact.
  • Refueling Surcharges: Fuel costs to cover long routes accumulate individually.

Calculating all potential added costs accurately shows joint shipping works out cheaper only in specific compatible scenarios. Most other situations leave minimal room for discounts.


When Joint Shipping Makes Most Financial Sense

Based on the factors covered, joint auto shipping is most likely to provide savings under the following conditions:

  • Transporting two compact cars/sedans of similar size
  • Origins and destinations located in adjacent areas/cities
  • Medium-short distances (under 1,500 miles)
  • Booking well in advance for flexible off-season travel dates
  • Avoiding peak moving seasons when rates are elevated

The potential discount window under these optimal scenarios ranges from 5-15% of total individual shipping costs. Any deviations from the above increase chances of similar or higher total rates for bundling.

Proper evaluation of route profiles and coordinating pickup/delivery logistics are keys to realizing joint shipment benefits. Random bundling rarely works out economically without strategizing compatible loads.

Other Non-financial Considerations

Beyond dollars saved, shipping two vehicles together provides some soft benefits like consolidated transport arrangements, coordinated pickup/drop-off scheduling and ability to travel together.

However, joint transport also comes with risks like both cars getting delayed/damaged together losing mobility options. communicaring closely with selected auto carriers helps address such concerns. On balance, the non-cost factors don’t heavily influence the joint vs individual choice.


In summary, whether joint auto shipping proves cheaper than individual transportation depends greatly on route specifics, vehicle types, booking timing and a carrier’s own operational circumstances on given dates.

Savings are most realistically expected under optimal scenarios outlined but not guaranteed otherwise. Thorough route and cost profiling coupled with compatible vehicle pairing holds the key to benefitting financially, if at all, from bundling shipments.

Overall, the potential discounts are relatively minor considering total relocation expenses. So joint or separate choices should not be dictated solely by theoretical cost calculations which often fail to deliver in practice. Convenience and control over individual vehicles may outweigh marginal potential discounts in many practical moving situations.