Of all the hours Americans spend in their cars, some of the most frustrating are those spent in search of parking. We’ve all been there, trying to make it somewhere, but the only parking space you can find is blocks away from your destination. Or, feeling more and more stressed as you drive by each consequent “lot full” sign. And, if you do manage to find good parking, you’ll most likely have to shell out big bucks for the convenience.

You are not alone. Americans, and much of the world, in fact, are plagued with an excess of parking costs and hours spent looking for that elusive spot. Washington-based transportation analytics company INRIX combined research from the world’s largest parking database with surveys from almost 6,000 U.S. drivers across 10 cities, and what it found was staggering. Findings show that we waste $73 billion a year looking for parking in the U.S. alone.

U.S. Cities with Above Average Hours Spent Parking

Remember those frustrating hours we mentioned? 61 percent of American drivers reported that trying to find a parking spot stressed them. The study found that many Americans spend an average of 17 hours a year searching for parking.

New York drivers topped the study of largest U.S. cities, spending 107 hours per year searching for a spot. Los Angeles trailed the Big Apple in painful parking experiences, spending 85 hours searching.

According to INRIX, these cities spent the most time searching for a space.
parking costs

  1. New York – 107 hours
  2. Los Angeles - 85 hours
  3. San Francisco - 83 hours
  4. Washington D.C. - 65 hours
  5. Seattle - 58 hours
  6. Chicago - 56 hours
  7. Boston - 53 hours
  8. Atlanta - 50 hours
  9. Dallas - 48 hours
  10. Detroit - 35 hours

The Other Impacts of Parking Costs

Making matters worse, the pain of parking costs don’t stop once we’ve settled in a space. Not sure how long you are going to be? Turns out, most Americans overpay on parking to avoid potential tickets—to the tune of 13 extra hours a year.

New York leads the pack in this respect as well. They overpay for an average of 96 hours per year. Interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, U.S. drivers spend eight times more overpaying for parking than in parking tickets. The average American gets just one parking ticket every five years.

The economy as a whole is feeling the brunt of this extra expense tied to driving. One alarming fact that came from this study is that 63 percent of people surveyed reported they avoid driving to a destination due to the challenge of finding parking. Of these, 39 percent avoided shopping destinations for lack of parking, 26 percent skipped out on leisure or sporting events, and 21 percent even went so far as to avoid commuting to work. This has a significant impact on local businesses in and the economy of U.S. cities.

Budgeting for Parking Pains

Of the 10 cities included in the INRIX study, eight of them showed the annual search for parking cost to be more than $1,000 per driver. This cost is reflected in wasted time, fuel and emissions. New Yorkers feel the sting more than others with a cost of $2,243 per year, while fifth-ranking Seattleites waste $1,205 annually. Only Dallas and Detroit came in with triple digit annual costs per driver—at $995 and $731, respectively.

Parking, and the costs associated with it, is one of the many things that needs to be taken into consideration when you are budgeting for a car. This, along with fuel costs, maintenance, insurance and more, is all part of the cost of ownership. If you are in the market for a vehicle, these things should be factored into your decision as you evaluate the potential impact on your finances. This can be especially true if you live in or around a major city.

Easing the Pressure of Car Buying

All the costs associated with car ownership can make budgeting for your vehicle difficult. If you have bad credit, searching for a vehicle can be even harder, but it doesn’t have to be.

Auto Credit Express can help ease your search by matching you with a dealership that has the resources available to help people in challenging credit situations find financing, no matter your credit situation. It’s simple to get started, just fill out our online auto loan request form to take the first step today.