According to a recent government study, the average American family now spends more a year on transportation than food. While higher gas prices are a significant factor, the study also says a big part of the problem lies with traffic congestion (which wastes a whopping $1.9 billion per year).
Furthermore, a lack of adequate public transportation in many areas and a crumbling infrastructure of roads, bridges and tunnels is making the situation worse.
Given that many municipalities have seen their budgets cut in recent years and with the cost of new construction projects and public transportation initiatives, plus a current lack of enthusiasm among voters for supporting them (raising taxes to fund such projects is essentially the only choice), it is unlikely we’ll see any improvements to the situation soon.
That said, there are a number of things motorists can do to try to ease the burden. Driving smoothly (i.e. making a gradual transition from acceleration to braking), is one aspect. Another is making sure your vehicle is in tip top condition (i.e regular maintenance is performed and correct tire pressures are checked and maintained frequently). Avoiding non essential trips and carpooling to work are others, while investing in a portable satellite navigation system can help motorists avoid potential traffic black spots.
A further option is moving closer to work, or working from home more often to reduce the need for driving. In fact, the study says that those who were able to live in “location efficient” housing, were able to save $200 per month. However, even in the 21st century, such options aren’t always open to all of us.
[Source: Consumer Reports]