Have you ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and wondered if you were wasting money and how much? Of course, you do waste money while sitting in traffic because you’re running the car and engine, which uses gasoline, even though you aren’t going anywhere. Congestion on US highways and in cities is always on the rise, which makes it hard for people to get where they need to be. It’s not likely to change, and many drivers wonder just how much money they waste each year in traffic.
Studies in the past showed that in 2013, roughly $1,700 was lost per American household for fuel costs, lost wages, and vehicle maintenance. Of course, now, the amount is a little higher, and projections show that if traffic and congestion continue, the figure could rise up to $2,300 by 2030.
Of course, Los Angeles was, by far, the worst city for gridlock waste. The figure is expected to be around $38 billion wasted per household by the year 2030.
What Can be Done?
While lawmakers and city officials work on steps that can reduce the problem, lower wastage, and get people where they need to be faster, there are things that drivers can do in the interim.
People who have autonomous vehicle technology may have to do nothing at all. Some vehicles have a unique start-stop feature, which turns off the engine when you sit in traffic for more than a few seconds or minutes. However, many people find that they need air conditioning in hot climates, so this option may not be suitable. You may want to bring a portable fan with you to help you stay cool when you’re stuck in traffic.
Those who drive older models without newer technology can also find ways to reduce wastage. You may want to consider leaving earlier for work or errands to get through traffic faster and prevent being late (and therefore get paid less). Along with such, you can shut off the ignition while you are sitting in traffic, though you may also want to bring a portable fan or other options to help you stay cool in the heat.
Some people may have an eco-setting on their vehicles, which may be automatic or manual. If you turn on the eco setting during stop-and-go or gridlock traffic, you waste less fuel and can still enjoy air conditioning.
However, the issue of maintenance and repairs is also essential. Shutting the car off if you’re sitting in traffic for an hour can be helpful and reduce engine wear, but shutting it off and turning it on multiple times in stop-and-go traffic can still cause a lot of wear.
One way city officials can reduce traffic and congestion on the highway is by utilizing smart cars. They have the technology to send signals to each other and traffic lights (in some cases), which means your vehicle can get a signal when traffic is gridlocked or heavy and can alert you in some way. That way, you can choose to take a different route and not get stuck in traffic at all.
More promising tech includes rerouting traffic at the city level using communication through smartphones and connected cars. Smart parking systems are also being considered, which ensures that city neighborhoods can direct you to the closest parking station to wait out the congestion. These stations may have convenience options, such as restrooms, fuel, charging stations (for electric cars) and convenience stores.