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Drivers waste $7.5 billion of gas in traffic every year

Traffic comes to a stand still on the northbound and the southbound lanes of the Interstate 405 freeway near the Los Angeles International Airport.

This final note on the way out, which comes with the observation that crude oil closed at $107 today.

There's a new study out from the Treasury Department that say we waste, collectively, $7.5 billion worth of gas just sitting in traffic every year.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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Marketplace needs a sustainability advisor.

Compared to the world of financial reporting, Marketplace does an okay job of looking beyond the first level of analysis. Still, when it comes to the economics of sustainability, Marketplace is decades behind the science.

As for this article in particular, the excerpted headline was unfortunately of $7.5 in wasted fuel from in traffic delay. Turns out the article also says that $100b is wasted in fuel AND time each year in traffic. Without context, such citations tend to drive reactions—“we need to build more roads to ‘free’ our traffic”. Yet, every traffic engineer knows well that building more lane capacity doesn’t reduce congestion for more than about 5 years; reduced congestion just encourage people to drive more. This has been studied and proven relentlessly for decades, but the public and most news reporters haven’t heard the news.

So, this seemingly harmless snippet of news reinforces a widespread mis-belief—one that costs us countless billions in unhelpful roads construction costs, billions in consequently necessary infrastructure costs, and billions in ecological and health impacts. This is also money we could have used to invest in commuter rail, express bus service, and other transportation technologies, like vanpools, that actually reduce congestion, save fuel, save time, and improve our health. Mechanisms that even work better the more we use them, unlike, say driving.

Don't blame it on the drivers of this country. It was the "system" that came up with want we currently have.
Blame Big Oil and their buddies in the auto industry for squashing the mass transportation system we once had.
What Americans have is a system based on "monopolies".

Drivers may waste $7.5 billion in gasoline every year. But how much does the US military waste annually for their illegal wars to steal other people's resources. One example is obvious. THEIR OIL RESERVES. How about a little balance in these stories.
And by the way, it has been mentioned on NPR and possibly Marketplace, the number ONE user of petroleum products on the planet is the US MILITARY.

I only drive 20 miles/week, at 9a for groceries, on sunny days.

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