You Threw Away $960 Sitting in Traffic Last Year

Average American driver spent 42 hours bumper-to-bumper
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2015 10:37 AM CDT
You Threw Away $960 Sitting in Traffic Last Year
Drivers navigate the Grand Central Parkway Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in the Queens borough of New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

If you're stuck in traffic for a few minutes today, look on the bright side: Those few minutes are nothing compared to the 42 hours the average rush-hour commuter spent in traffic last year—or the 6.9 billion hours American drivers squandered while bumper-to-bumper—at a cost of $960 in wasted fuel. A new study from Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX finds drivers are spending more time in traffic than ever before. In 2009, drivers wasted about 6.3 billion hours on the road, reports ABC News. The average delay has actually doubled since 1985 and it's only going to get worse: By 2020, the study authors predict the average driver will face 47 hours of delays for a combined 8.3 billion hours nationwide, reports USA Today.

That number will probably look good to anyone who drives in Washington, DC, though. The capital had the worst traffic in the country, with drivers wasting 82 hours of their time. Los Angeles (80), San Francisco (78), New York (74), and San Jose (67) rounded out the top five. The study notes Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Tampa fared well for their size, but Baton Rouge and Austin had worse traffic than some much larger cities. More roads can ease congestion but that strategy alone isn't enough. "This problem calls for a classic all-hands-on-deck approach," a co-author says. "Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when, and how they work, individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns, and we can have better thinking when it comes to long-term land use planning." (More traffic stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.