The Best & Worst Major Routes for Auto Transport Truckers

Posted on
2 min to read

What round-trip routes can a trucker get a full load each way with the best total pay round-trip?  What routes should be avoided?  I took a look at the average rates for vehicles Montway dispatched for the last 30 days on major routes.  Given that Auto Transport drivers must spend considerable time loading and unloading, I’m comparing routes based on an average gross rate per day, rather than simply per mile. (There’s a full description of the methodology used below.)

While there are better rates to be had going to popular destinations (but not coming back) or better rates to be had on some shorter, low-volume routes, the key is looking at major routes where a trucker can get a full load in each direction. I found the average gross revenue per day to be $1,000, so keep that in mind when comparing the rates offered on the best and worst routes.

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First, The Best Routes:

#1 – San Francisco/Silicon Valley to Washington D.C./Virginia: $1,200/day

This route is on top because both locations are a challenge to operate in with narrow streets, big hills and large truck restrictions. Truckers up for the challenge can expect to make about $200/day more than average or $3,600 per round-trip.

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#2  – New York/Newark Jersey to San Francisco/Silicon Valley: $1,160/day

Similar to the best route, New York is near the top of the “Least Favorite Locations” list for truckers.

#3 – San Diego to Washington D.C./Virginia: $1,154/day

The Washington D.C. metro area shows up once again along with a somewhat out-of-the-way California city, still earning a nice premium over average rates.

#4 – Los Angeles to New York/Newark Jersey: $1,153/day

For almost the same rate you can run a much more major route with a little less hassle.

#5 – Seattle to Washington D.C./Virginia: $1,133/day

Seattle to the Washington D.C. metro area rounds out our top-routes list.

So What Routes Should Be Avoided?

#1 – Miami/West Palm Beach to New York/New Jersey: $747/day

July was a bad month to be running to or from Florida, so it’s no surprise to see this route at the top of the list. Snowbirds should be beginning their annual migration South soon, so this may improve in August and especially September.

#2 – Houston to Los Angeles: $796/day

This may be a relatively attractive route for truckers pushing down rates. There are however plenty of vehicles available in each direction.

#3 – : New York/Newark Jersey to Orlando: $819/day

Similar to #1, East Coast to/from Florida was not good in July.

#4 – Los Angeles to Orlando: $866/day

West Coast to Florida was only slightly better.

#5 – Dallas to Philadelphia: $965/day

This route is only slightly below average.


I looked at rates paid to Truckers based on the following criteria with the goal of having an apples-to-apples comparison based on enough data to draw a conclusion from and to make sure the market is big enough that a trucker could get a full load in both directions.

The criteria used for the data:

  • Vehicles dispatched within the last 30 days (7/1/14 to 7/30/14)
  • Fully operable single vehicles only
  • Compact, small or midsize sedans only
  • No special vehicle attributes and no classic cars
  • Open trailer transports, no enclosed trailers
  • No special services or guaranteed dates required
  • To and from major cities in the USA
  • Montway Auto Transport must have dispatched at least 2 loads meeting the above requirements going in each direction over the last 30 days (The average in each direction was 4)

Rather than use a traditional cost/mile, loading and unloading time needs to be taken into account to compare routes of different distances. The Rate/Day was calculated assuming 600 miles driven per day, 2 days to load, 2 days to unload then 2 more days to re-load and finally 2 days to unload.  The per-vehicle rate is multiplied by 10.  This is assuming 10 small cars.  A smaller truck may have fewer vehicles but be able to accommodate some larger vehicles which pay more bringing the total rate to something comparable to a 10-car hauler.

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