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In sparse vehicular ad hoc networks (VANET), node forwards packet using the idea of "carry and forward" in order to improve the delivery rate. This paper analyzed the delay performance in sparse VANET, where a formula for packet delivery end-to-end delay was given. An algorithm named DEA (delay evaluation algorithm) was proposed as a benchmark to evaluate the end to end delay. Using the neighbor relationship of nodes as input, DEA outputs the minimal end-to-end delay as well as the routing path with the minimal delay. DEA can also be used as routing algorithm in a network where node moves regularly. The simulation results show that DEA can get the minimal end-to-end delay and evaluate other protocol.