Do gas prices impact moving costs?

What you pay at the pump matters for your move

When calculating the costs for a long-distance move, many factors are at play. Of course, things like the distance and the date matter, but fuel can also significantly influence moving costs. A rise in gas prices doesn't mean putting off your move. But it is important to know why gas prices fluctuate and how they play out in moving rates.

car at gas station


Why do gas prices go up and down?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and The Balance, a personal finance site, four main factors are at play when it comes to fuel prices.

  1. Crude oil prices. Crude oil is the petroleum product used to make gas and diesel. When the price goes up, gasoline prices also increase.
  2. Consumer demand. Like with other products, higher demand is often met with higher prices. Things like seasonality (more people taking summer road trips) and weather events (people filling up before a snowstorm) can increase demand.
  3. The value of a dollar. In the global market, crude oil is priced in U.S. dollars, so when the value of a dollar goes down, that can make crude oil prices go up.
  4. Location. Gas prices can vary widely across the country because of location and environmental programs. Location matters because pipelines carry gas across the country, and the closer you are to one, the cheaper gas will be. Environmental programs play a role in certain places, like California. The state requires a unique blend of cleaner fuel, which is more expensive to produce and in higher demand.

All that to say, you can't control (or accurately predict) the cost of fuel. But if prices at the pump are increasing, you may see some changes in your overall moving costs.

What happens to moving costs when gas prices change

If you're moving across town, paying a few extra cents per gallon when prices increase won't matter much. However, a long-distance move takes more fuel, so even a few extra cents per gallon becomes more noticeable. You'll see the impact of gas costs in two ways — personal travel and moving your belongings.

Personal travel

The fuel costs for this part of your move depend on how you're traveling. When you fly, fuel is built into the ticket fee and split among the passengers, so any shifts in gas prices will have a minor effect. But if you're driving across the country, it's a good idea to leave a little room in your fuel budget to prepare for fluctuations.

For example, the 800-mile trip from Atlanta, GA to Fort Worth, TX, will use around 32 gallons of gas (in a vehicle with an average of 25 MPG). If gas prices are around $2.40, the trip will cost you $77. If gas prices jump to $3.30, you'll pay $106 in fuel.

Moving your belongings

Because moving services handle fuel differently, the impact of gas prices will vary depending on how you choose to move. Here's how truck rental compares to self-moving services like U-Pack®:

Rental trucks. You'll see the biggest change in costs when driving a rental truck. A fully loaded rental truck will only get around 8 MPG, so for the same 800-mile trip, you'll need 100 gallons. At $2.40 per gallon, that's $240, and at $3.30 per gallon, that's $330. This rental truck fuel calculator will help you determine actual fuel costs for your move and explain what can cause rental trucks to use more fuel, like driving style and towing.

Self-moving services. When a company handles transportation, the fuel is usually included in their rate. And while fuel costs can fluctuate daily, rates are set months in advance, so your moving costs won't change even if fuel rates do. U-Pack moving quotes include the equipment and transportation (including fuel), so you can see exactly what you'll pay before moving day — and once you reserve, your price is locked in even if gas prices go up.

Wondering how much moving companies usually cost? See what goes into the moving rate and compare U-Pack costs to other moving companies.

How to save on fuel when moving across the country

No matter how you decide to move, when it's time to hit the road and drive your family to your new home, use these tips to spend less at the pump:

  • Maintain your vehicle. This is easier with your own car (since you don't have much control over the maintenance of a rental truck). Things like properly inflated tires, a tight gas cap, and regular oil changes can make your vehicle more fuel-efficient. Use this car maintenance checklist to help ensure everything is working properly.
  • Pick the most fuel-efficient route. The GoogleMaps app will show you the trip that includes fewer hills, less traffic and more constant driving speeds.
  • Drive easy. Accelerating slowly and maintaining the speed limit can help keep your fuel usage down.
  • Compare prices. Use a gas comparison app, like GasBuddy, to find the cheapest rates when you need to fill your tank. Saving even a few cents per gallon at each stop can add up!
  • Sign up for discounts or rewards. Stores like Sam's Club or Costco offer discounted fuel to members, so if you do any bulk shopping, it can be worth it to purchase a membership. Or check with your credit card companies about fuel rewards. Some offer double points at certain stations, or gas company cards may give you cash back on fuel purchases. 

Move without paying too much for fuel

Know ahead of time what your move will cost with U-Pack. Get a quote above or tell us the details of your move over the phone at 844-362-5303844-594-3077. Our prices include the moving equipment, liability coverage and transportation (including fuel).


If you have any questions about the impact of gas costs on your move, leave us a comment. We're here to help.