As one of the largest states by both population and total area in the U.S., California car transport is quite popular. Many, many people ship vehicles into and out of California on a daily basis, year-round. As such, finding quality auto transporters to ship to or from the state is relatively easy. That is, if you’re shipping to or from one of the top California car transport destinations.
As mentioned, California is big. Very big. So big, in fact, that there is quite a divide between urban, suburban, and rural living spaces. From the majestic concrete jungles of Los Angeles to sprawling forests and harsh deserts, California has something for everyone. But where you’re shipping to or from is going to play a major role in how much you spend on your California car shipping services.
Bigger cities are always cheaper to ship to or from because of sheer demand. Carriers want loads that keep them on major routes to and from major cities. As such, it’s not surprising that the top California car transport destinations are all major cities. Keep reading to learn more about them, what to expect when shipping to them, and how we can help you find the best shippers for your needs.
California car transport in a nutshell
California is divided into three or four unique regions. Well, technically it has something like twelve, but for car shipping purposes you really only need to know the four main ones. There’s northern California, which is pretty sparsely populated outside Sacramento; Central California, which includes cities like Fresno and Bakersfield; the Southwest, which includes Los Angeles and San Diego; and the Southeast, which is mostly desert.
The Southeast is not a popular shipping location. Northern California can be, but mostly only around Sacramento, the state’s capital. It’s the Southwest that sees the most shipments, notably because of San Diego and Los Angeles.
California sees the most shipments in terms of annual total volume. This means that more people ship in and out of California than any other state, and much of that traffic heads into and out of the Greater Los Angeles area. That’s not surprising; it’s home to over 18.7 million people and is the second-largest metropolitan area in the country. With so many people living there, and with the weather as nice as it is, it’s not surprising. But there are still some things to know about Los Angeles as a car transport destination, so keep reading.
Why Los Angeles is so popular
As we mentioned, Los Angeles is the largest city in California. It’s metro area is the second-largest in the United States. It is also a major economic and cultural hub of the west coast and the southwestern United States. Put these two factors together and you have a city that is home to a lot of people that is also a major travel destination. And, as a major economic hub of the region, there are many businesses moving cars in and out of the city, for a whole host of different reasons.
Because of this, Los Angeles tends to be the easiest city to ship to or from in the state of California and often is the cheapest. There are a lot of carriers that are based in the Los Angeles area that helps when it comes to finding carriers quickly. But it’s also just where most customers are shipping to or from. Being on the west coast makes it a logical start-and-end point for carriers building loads on routes. The ease of access and the sprawling nature of the city make it easier for carriers to pickup and deliver there as well.
Simply put, Los Angeles is the most popular shipping location because of its size and popularity. You should not have any issues shipping a vehicle to or from the city of Los Angeles, and you’ll often save money over other cities if you.
What makes San Diego a top car transport location
Much like Los Angeles, San Diego is a major economic, cultural, and shipping hub of the southwestern United States. It sits further south than Los Angeles but only by a few hours, so it’s not that far out of the way for most carriers. This means California car transport to or from San Diego is pretty easy to find, on the whole.
But, unlike Los Angeles, San Diego tends to see a lot more military shipments, particularly of navy members. San Diego is a major port city and one of the largest on the west coast. It has a massive naval base and naval presence as well. The city, however, is so large that it does not earn the “military town” moniker like, say, Panama City Beach, Florida does.
What this does, though, is it results in a solid mix of military members and regular folks shipping into and out of San Diego. This in turn helps keep prices lower because the routes to and from are always busy. Carriers tend to have an easy time finding loads to or from most California cities, especially if they’re easily accessible.
Now, being on the coast and being further south may increase the price a bit over Los Angeles. However, it shouldn’t be too much of a difference for you. And while many routes can be made cheaper by moving your pickup or delivery location, San Diego is not one that will result in much change over Los Angeles.
On shipping to San Jose
Despite its location in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose is actually larger than San Francisco and is one of three cities in California, the other two being Los Angeles and San Diego, which has a population proper of over one million residents. This makes San Jose another popular California car transport location and perhaps the most popular in northern California.
Most auto transporters run routes into northern California from southern California. Now, that’s not true if they’re coming from the Pacific Northwest, which is north of California. But most cross-country shipments will move freight into California starting in the south, coming into San Diego and Los Angeles, before moving north.
The reason why is simple – it’s cheaper. This may be somewhat surprising, but if you look at a map it becomes quite clear. Staying in the southern states yields carriers running east-west routes more potential customers. It offers more frequent stops in big cities and fewer swaths of uninhabited areas. It’s a lot easier to string together a load from Miami to Los Angeles than it is from Kansas City to Sacramento. The routes that carriers take for the latter run don’t have as many customers or stops.
So, San Jose is often approached from the south, which helps prices. But, like Los Angeles and San Diego, you won’t see big swings in your prices regardless. San Jose is a competitive market that sees a lot of car transport traffic. As such, you shouldn’t have any issue shipping to or from the area.
Let’s discuss San Francisco
Though San Francisco is the fourth-largest city in the state by total population, that doesn’t mean as much for California cities as others. And while population and city size is important when it comes to shipping to or from an area, the size and ease of access is important as well.
Los Angeles, on the whole, is full of wide, sprawling streets that are easy for carriers to access. Not all are that way, of course, but many are. Los Angeles is very spread out, with lots of area for suburbs and wide streets and easy access for vehicles. San Francisco, on the other hand, is very tightly-packed. While both cities were founded before the invention of the automobile, Los Angeles saw most of its growth after it became popular. San Francisco is older than Los Angeles and was developed more during the 19th century than the 20th, so automobiles weren’t factored into the city’s initial layout.
This can make it more difficult for auto transporters to get to specific areas in San Francisco. Not only that, but prices increase to and from the city as well. Harder to get to, more crowded, harder to maneuver and navigate in…there are lots of reasons for prices to be higher in or out of San Francisco than Los Angeles. It’s not a huge jump, but enough for you to be aware of. Other than that, it’s still fast and easy to ship to or from the city.
And, finally, Fresno
Ah yes, Fresno. The largest inland city in the state of California, Fresno is…not all that popular when it comes to shipping cars. It’s the ultimate example of how population size is not the only factor when it comes to the popularity of a given location. Auto transport carriers don’t like Fresno because it’s pretty far out of the way. Not only that, there’s not a lot of people shipping to or from Fresno as-is.
There are a few different reasons for this, but a big one, believe it or not, is socioeconomic in nature. Fresno is not an economic or cultural hub of California, whereas the other four cities on this list kind of are. Without that driver bringing in new customers and vehicles and demanding shipping services, it puts Fresno a bit off the beaten path.
Speaking of paths, Fresno, while accessible via an interstate highway, still isn’t popular because it’s out of the way. It’s not just off the beaten path in terms of volume of vehicles shipped; Fresno sits off the literal path carriers take. It’s in the northern-central part of the state, on the east side of the mountains that comprise the San Fernando Valley. This means carriers have to battle the geography of California to get into and out of Fresno as well, which is frustrating.
It’s certainly far from hard to ship in or out of Fresno, but it may take a bit longer and cost a bit more. That’s all.
Let ASQ help you with your California car transport needs
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