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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

LA Ranks Second in Traffic Study

Los Angeles ranked behind Washington as having horrible traffic.

Americans are wasting over $800 a year sitting in traffic, according to a study released Tuesday.

According to a study released by Texas A&M, increasing traffic congestion costs the nation $121 billion in time and fuel, releasing 56 billion pounds or more of additional carbon dioxide. The number was up $1 billion from 2010.

The study found that a total of $5.5 billion additional hours were wasted nationwide and each American wasted $818 stuck in traffic in 2011.

Washington D.C. was ranked the most congested city, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle. It costs nearly three hours instead of 30 minutes for a trip in rush hour in Washington D.C.

“We all understand that trips take longer in rush hour, but for really important appointments, we have to allow increasingly more time to ensure an on-time arrival,” says Bill Eisele, aTTIresearcher and report co-author.

“As bad as traffic jams are, it’s even more frustrating that you can’t depend on traffic jams being consistent from day-to-day. This unreliable travel is costly for commuters and truck drivers moving goods.”

However, Americans did improve in some aspects. According to the study, the total extra gasoline burned for congestion was 2.9 billion gallons in 2011, down from 3.2 billion gallons in 2005.

Researchers said the improvement may have been caused by the recession and once the economy gets better, the number might go up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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