The Hunt for Parking Apparently Costs Americans $73 Billion Annually

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
the hunt for parking apparently costs americans 73 billion annually

INRIX Research, which compiles automotive data for automakers and state agencies, is claiming Americans waste 73 billion dollars every year trying to find and hold a parking space. Following a survey of nearly 6,000 drivers in 10 U.S. cities, INRIX concluded the average driver suffers an average of 17 hours and $345 worth of wasted time, fuel, and emissions.

While that sounds ridiculous, a 2017 national survey from the United Kingdom’s Department of Transport claimed average British drivers waste four days of their lives every year doing the same thing. The number was twice as high for city-based residents. Perhaps 17 annual hours is a little more reasonable than it initially seemed.

Anyone who has lived in both rural and major metropolitan areas will tell you there is a huge parking disparity between the two. But how blatant it may be is largely dependent upon the town in which you are trying to stash your car. Unsurprisingly, New York drivers have it the worst of anyone living the the United States. Spending an hour hunting for free parking is not unheard of in some parts of the Big Apple. According to the survey, that equates to 107 hours and a staggering $2,243 worth of wasted time and energy.

Los Angeles pursued New York as the city with the second most egregious parking experience, at 85 hours, followed by San Francisco (83 hours), Washington D.C. (65 hours), Seattle (58 hours), Chicago (56 hours), Boston (53 hours), Atlanta (50 hours), Dallas (48 hours) and Detroit (35 hours).

“Americans spend an incredible $72.7 billion searching for the elusive parking spot,” said Bob Pishue, senior economist at INRIX. “Our country’s parking pain has widespread impact — on drivers, cities, the economy and the environment. Thankfully, it’s a problem that can be improved through education, technology and partnerships.”

Tainting its research with an agenda, INRIX is one of those companies poised to help the world out of this problem with its data solutions and connected vehicle apps. However, its parking estimates might not be all that far off the mark. While the majority of Americans aren’t subject to inflated parking rates and hours of hunting for a space, a multitude of studies suggest city-dwellers spend an incredible amount of time seeking parking. A UCLA study using decades of data assessed that up to 30 percent of the traffic in downtown Los Angeles might just be looking for an open space, contributing to 47,000 gallons of wasted gas every year. Related studies showed Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood posting similar cruising percentages.

Whether this is an argument for abandoning driving entirely (please don’t) or simply a case for sounder city planning, urbanites face unique problems while driving. Almost two-thirds of the surveyed American drivers reported feeling stressed while trying to find a parking spot in the past year, nearly half admitted to a missed appointment, a third abandoned a trip entirely, and almost one-quarter claimed to have experienced legitimate road rage.

However, the problems don’t end once you’ve found a place to stick your vehicle. “In the search for parking, overpayments and fines is a $96 billion problem in the U.S.,” said Pishue. “To lessen the burden parking pain has on our economy and quality of life, drivers, parking operators and cities must adopt smart parking solutions.”

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  • Dan Dan on Jul 13, 2017

    Blame the developers. There's no money for them in providing infrastructure, so they don't. They outright own the county zoning boards here and carve themselves exemptions for all of the historical requirements regarding number of parking spaces per residence or retail foot, off-site collector road improvements, etc. The inevitable result of parking spillover onto adjacent lots and neighborhoods, massive congestion with thousands of new residents exceeding the capacity of existing roads, door dings in high density lots with 80" between the parking lines, etc. is for the suckers who already live there.

  • Celebrity208 Celebrity208 on Jul 13, 2017

    For all the DMV (DC, MD, VA) area B&B who need to go into the District on occasion sign up for Parking Panda (full disclosure: I have NO interest or relationship with who or what ever owns that app). It was SO SWEET to drive right into an empty parking garage right by the zoo to attend "ZooLights". Parking Panda has helped me save time when going to my DC based eye Dr. and when meeting other people out for drinks/dinner. Check it out and make your own decision. (do your own search, I'm not linking to anything)

  • Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
  • YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.
  • IBx1 ...and it's automatic, so you get the same driving experience as a camry or an Ioniq 5. What a waste.
  • SCE to AUX Love it, and the price is a bargain, actually. The clean exterior is nice.Also, this caught my attention: "105mm throttle body"... that's a lot of air flow.
  • Tassos I predict this will be a big hit and conquer new markets. Housewives will be lining up to grab them, and the dealers will charge $200k a unit. Why? Because they already buy SUVs and crossovers they never needed, which have much less interior space than their minivans. So they will sacrifice a bit more of that space, but at least they will not drive identical looking crossovers with their accursed neighbor's wife.I also predict the Tesla Plaid and even lesses Teslas will beat the living daylights of this idiotic vehicle, and without even breaking a sweat.