Rising fuel prices have affected consumers in almost every market. Not only do you pay more to fill up at the pump, but prices on retail goods have increased in response to higher shipping costs.
Auto transport firms are one of the hardest hit industries as spiking fuel prices force them to raise their rates. Although this move has scared off some customers, higher gasoline prices make car shipping a more economical choice than driving yourself.
The Economics of Auto Transport
Gas costs for car shipping is lower because of the economy of scale. Consider that if you drive a car that gets 25 mpg to a destination 1000 miles away, you will use 40 gallons of gas.
Compare that to an average car carrier. Even an inefficient carrier gets at least 5 mpg – many get much higher mileages. If that truck carries a moderate load of six cars over a thousand miles it will use up 200 gallons of fuel. Those cars individually would use 240 gallons total so shipping saves 40 gallons. If it carries a dozen cars then it saves a whopping 280 gallons, more than half the fuel that would have been burned by self-driving.
Combining loads means that fuel surcharges can be spread among more customers. While the consumer might pay more for shipping than would have been the case two years ago, it’s still cheaper than driving.
Cars incur expenses other than gasoline. Car shipping means that there are no expenses for oil, tire wear, or other maintenance so savings are even greater.
If you are a typical family with two or more vehicles, then auto transport becomes a real savings. Even if you decide you want to pile the family into one car and take the drive, it is simple common sense to ship the other car rather than trying to caravan and wasting even more fuel.
Car Shipping Means Lower Emissions
Less fuel burned means less pollution and less impact on climate change as well as a host of other health risks. Not only that, but diesel emits less carbon dioxide than gasoline so this means less of a carbon footprint even if the same amount of fuel is burned.
However to give a complete picture, it is fair to note that diesel has historically been a dirtier fuel than gasoline. The two main culprits have been soot and sulfur compounds. Emissions standards that have been implemented recently as well as new rules that will come into effect in the next few years will deal with these problems, making diesel a cleaner fuel than it ever has been.
The analysis is complex but it appears that gallon for gallon, gasoline and diesel have about the same negative effects. Thus whichever method uses less fuel is the more environmentally friendly.