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Heavy Traffic Costs MSP Drivers Time, Money

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A slow, snowy morning commute begs the question: Just how much time do Twin Cities drivers waste sitting in traffic? The answer might surprise you, in more than one way.

Motorists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro burned 34 hours during peak gridlock hours in 2011, according to the annual Urban Mobility Report released Tuesday by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

And while that amount of time — nearly a day and a half — sounds bad, it ranks 44th among top U.S. metropolitan areas.

“The numbers are staggering, really,” study co-author Bill Eisele told CBS News. “Washington, D.C. tops our list at 67 hours, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco at 61, New York at 59 and Boston at 53.”

The second five cities include Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Traffic cost Twin Cities drivers $695 in 2011, according to the study. The national average was $818.

Nationally, fuel wasted in congested traffic reached a total of 2.9 billion gallons – enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome four times. That’s the same as 2010, but short of the 3.2 billion gallons wasted in 2005.

Twin Cities drivers burned an average of 12 gallons in 2011, the same as 2010.

Data from the Urban Mobility Index, which dates back to 2006, shows that while the Minneapolis-St. Paul population has grown in the past five years, wasted time and money on average has actually fallen.

Check out the specific Twin Cities data here.

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