There are a few terms that are intrinsically linked with the average American’s daily commute. Traffic jam, rush hour, expect delays, and even road rage are all common terms when we talk about driving to and from work. The reality is that most Americans do not live close enough to their place of employment to walk, bike, or take public transportation, so they are left with one option: to drive. Unfortunately, this daily commute costs Americans both precious time and money.
The next time that you are sitting in your car, frustrated beyond belief, take at least a bit of solace in the fact that you are not alone in your struggle. According to the Atlantic, “The total amount of time that American rush-hour commuters in 2014 spent stuck in traffic was about 6.9 billion hours, up from 6.4 billion in 2010, according to a report from the Texas Transportation Institute, which is part of Texas A&M University. That works out to about 42 hours—essentially a full work week—per commuter per year.” In fact, the total amount of time American commuters sit in traffic each year has steadily increased since 2004.
The average daily commute not only is tough on our nerves, it is equally hard on our wallets. While Americans are sitting in traffic, wondering when to switch lanes, or even exploring alternative routes, they are burning an unnecessary amount of gasoline. According to ABC News, “The average commuter guzzled an extra 19 gallons of fuel during traffic jams. Collectively, we wasted about 3 billion gallons of fuel thanks to traffic in 2014.” The article also found that sitting in traffic cost Americans $160 billion a year in lost time, an average of $960 per commuter.
The question becomes, what can be done to improve the average American commute? To save time, the HOV or carpool lane offers a sensible option. The United States Census Bureau recently found that a whopping 76.6 percent of Americans drive to work alone. While these lanes are typically reserved for carpoolers, there are certain vehicles that allow the driver to cruise past traffic without a passenger. Utilizing the HOV lane can save commuters a significant amount of valuable time and frustration.
Another way to ease the pain of the daily commute is to find a sensible commuter car. As the overwhelming majority of Americans are driving to work alone, they are commuting with anywhere from four to seven empty seats in their vehicles. Driving an inefficient SUV or truck to work results in an excessive amount of wasted gasoline. By driving a fuel-efficient, affordable commuter car, Americans can save hundreds of dollars a year while doing their part to positively impact the environment.
The daily commute for many Americans is getting longer and more expensive, but there are ways to improve this facet of everyday life. Finding a way to utilize the coveted HOV lane can save valuable time and avoid the hassle of seemingly endless gridlock. Additionally, finding an affordable, fuel-efficient commuter car can ease the financial strain of the daily commute and is well worth the effort. In order to save time, money, and your sanity, is it time you took a closer look at the ultimate commuter car for your weekly commute?