February 5, 2013 12:00 PM, EST
Congestion Costs Trucking $27 Billion Annually, Report Says
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

Traffic congestion in the largest U.S. cities cost the commercial trucking industry about $27 billion in wasted time and fuel in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday.

Congestion cost the total economy $121 billion in wasted time and fuel in 2011, up $1 billion from a year earlier, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report, the Associated Press reported.

Americans wasted an average of $818 each sitting in traffic in 2011, AP reported, citing the study.

Along with wasted time and fuel, congestion contributed 56 billion pounds of additional carbon dioxide emissions from vehicle idling, Bloomberg News reported, citing the study.

The Washington, D.C., area had the worst congestion, the report said. Following that were Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The report said that unless something is done about traffic, the economic recovery will put more vehicles on the road, creating even more congestion, the Washington Post reported.

By 2020, the average U.S. driver will spend an additional seven hours in traffic each year and waste six more gallons of gasoline, the Post reported, citing analysts.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association said the report showed there is a need for more infrastructure funding.

“Robust new investments aimed at creating additional highway and public transit capacity and providing more travel options could help accelerate economic recovery and better prepare the nation for the 21st century mobility challenges that come with it,” the group said in a statement.

The study said Americans burned 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline while sitting in congestion in 2011, a slight improvement over the peak in 2005, when commuters wasted 3.2 billion gallons, AP reported.