Here's a news flash: traffic is a huge waste of time for commuters mired in rush hour gridlock. A recent study by the Texas Travel Institute unearthed some startling statistics concerning traffic, and everybody, including state and local governments, is paying huge.

On average, drivers spend 38 hours per year in traffic, which translates into 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel. If you live in L.A., 72 hours per year are thrown out the window as a result of congestion. Due to the strain that 2.9 billion additional gallons of gasoline puts on the volatile refinery market and all the lost revenue caused by the delays, about $78 billion goes down the drain each year.

The study puts much of the blame on an infrastructure that hasn't grown much over 50 years, even as the amount of drivers on the road has exploded. Commuters are also putting more distance between themselves and their typical destination. It'd be a welcome sight for our government to spend as much energy increasing the bandwidth of our roads as it does imposing challenging fuel economy standards on automakers. The economy could use the extra jobs created by the needed construction work, and our environment could use a break from all the carbon coming from drivers with their foot on their brake.

[Source: CNN Money]