Report: U.S. traffic congestion wastes 1.9 billion gallons of gas each year and costing you money


As if we needed another reason to despise getting stuck in traffic jams during our daily commutes, a recent report released by the Treasury Department has found that Americans are wasting 1.9 billions of gas each year due to congested roads and inadequate transportation infrastructure.

According to the Treasury Department’s findings, congested roads and traffic jams cost American drivers more than $100 billion a year in wasted fuel and lost time.

The report, which you can read here, is part of President Obama’s proposed plan to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The President’s plan would require a $50 billion up-front investment in combination with a $476 billion six-year reauthorization of the surface transportation program, and the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank.

Unsurprisingly, partisan politics are encroaching on the White House’s proposed plan, with Republican presidential candidates readily criticizing the Obama administration for high gasoline prices and excess in government spending.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told USA Today that the Treasury Department recent findings are “the latest reminder that it’s time to stop the partisan bickering in Washington and invest in our nation’s infrastructure.”

Despite the political wrangling, the Obama administration is understandably eager to see improvements made to the nation’s existing infrastructure. The report shows that, in 90 percent of American households, one out every seven dollars goes towards transportation costs, with the average American family spending roughly $7,600 annually on transportation. Interestingly, that is more than it spends on food and double what it spends towards out-of-pocket health care costs.

The report also found that the average city motorist pays more than $400 per year in additional vehicle maintenance due to poor roads. Some motorists in major urban areas such as Los Angeles and New York pay upwards of $756 annually.

Perhaps even more interesting — and not that surprising — in the Treasury Department findings is the number of gross domestic product spent on the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The U.S spends about 2 percent of the gross domestic product on infrastructure. Compared to China’s 9 percent, India’s 8 percent, and Europe at 5 percent, that isn’t exactly stellar.

Of course, while the Treasury Department was hard at work further establishing why we all hate traffic so much, it also took the time to point out one positive: during the past fifteen years, the amount of people taking to mass transit systems, like heavy and light rail, has increased from nearly 8 billion in 1996 to 10.4 billion in 2011.


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