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Traffic Congestion Costs Drivers 5.5 Billion Hours

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you’re heading out the door, new research shows you might be late for work, even if you think you’ve allowed enough time.

An annual study by researchers at Texas A&M University finds that even without weather problems an average trip in the Chicago area can take four times as long that it would with no traffic congestion.

The study’s co author, Bill Eisele says the Chicago area ranks seventh among large urban areas with the worst traffic jams.

Washington, D.C. ranks No. 1 in the country.

Nationwide, Eisele said, Americans are wasting a lot of time and money sitting in traffic.

“Congestion caused urban Americans to travel 5.5 billion hours more and to purchase an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel for a congestion cost of $121 billion.”

In the Chicago area, Eisele said, if you plan for normal traffic conditions, you will be late half the time.