Gridlock in the U.S.: How Costly Is L.A. Traffic?

The gridlock cost for Angelenos equals a yearly average of $1,816, according to a study by insurance firm Budget Direct
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As the city has fitfully emerged from its COVID slump, traffic problems have returned, with congestion and delays on the Westside setting new records over the holidays. But it turns out the countless hours we spend trapped in gridlock on the 405 are sapping more than our patience.

The insurance firm Budget Direct recently tallied the average number of hours that drivers in cities around the globe spend idling in traffic, factoring in local gas prices and the cost of those delays on productivity. To no one’s surprise, L.A. topped the list in the U.S. (Globally, the city came in at No. 13, after Tel Aviv and Dublin.)

According to the study, gridlock cost the everyday Angeleno a yearly average of $1,816 in time that could have been spent on important things like curing cancer or firing your agent. But it could be worse—you could be losing $3,555 a year trapped on the freeways of Hong Kong, where gas is $9.90 a gallon.

Here’s a breakdown of the price of gridlock throughout the United States:


(1) Los Angeles 

Cost per driver: $1,816

(Photo by Getty Images)

(2) New York

Cost per driver: $1,499

(Photo by Getty Images)

(3) San Francisco 

Cost per driver: $1,499

(Photo by Getty Images)

(4) Honolulu

Cost per driver: $1,466

(Photo by Getty Images)

(5) San Jose

Cost per driver: $1,458

(Photo by Getty Images)

(6) Miami

Cost per driver: $1,439

(Photo by Getty Images)

(7) Seattle 

Cost per driver: $1,308

(Photo by Getty Images)

(8) Baton Rouge 

Cost per driver: $1,304

(Photo by Getty Images)

(9) Riverside, CA

Cost per driver: $1,280

(Photo by Getty Images)

(10) Austin

Cost per driver: $1,204

(Photo by Getty Images)

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