Generally it is cheaper to drive a car yourself to a far-off destination than to ship it. There are variables in figuring cost of driving the car over long distances. A big one is how many miles per gallon your car gets. For example: A car that gets 20 miles to the gallon and is driven 800 miles would require 40 gallons of fuel start to finish. Suppose a national average cost per gallon of gas of $3.00 and the trip would cost $120.00 in fuel alone. This does not include the cost of oil or wear and tear on the tires.
Figure in motels along the way at $100.00 per night and $50.00 per day for meals on the road. Now the cost to drive the car yourself comes to $320.00 barring any unforeseen roadside mishaps.
Throw in some family members or friends who are either relocating or vacationing with you and you must calculate a per diem for their food and lodging as well. If it is just you and your spouse, the total cost of your drive-it-yourself trip would be $420.00. The average cost of shipping a car 800 miles is around $700.00. You must not forget to add in the tab for airfare or ground transportation for the two of you to reach your destination.
However, if you are planning to tow the car behind your rental truck, no additional fees are required except for the rental/leasing or purchasing of the towing gear.
There is far more than cash outlay to be concerned about undertaking such a long trip behind the wheel of your car.
A professional who charges by the hour, say a doctor, lawyer or consultant must figure in the hourly fees he is not receiving while driving over a long distance. The same is true of mechanics, electricians, plumbers and other highly skilled tradespersons. Being away from work and therefore unproductive for 12 or more hours will definitely put a dent in their wallets. This cost must be included in the expense tally of driving the car versus shipping it.
Another non-economic issue is your serenity. If you are a white knuckle driver, tightly holding on to the steering wheel and conjuring up worst case road scenarios throughout the entire trip, by the time you reach your destination you will be so uptight you will need two or three days to get back to working condition. Your traveling companions will also be totally stressed making for an extremely tense atmosphere for much too long a time.
And let’s not forget the family car with mom, dad and three young ones in back. It goes against the laws of nature that three young siblings can stay in one small confined space for two days or a day and a half without bickering, hair pulling, crying, socking each other and generally making life miserable for the parents. Don’t make me come back there! What price can you place on peace of mind for two individuals who work 40 hours a week and then come home to take care of three young ones? Priceless.
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