Get 4 more free days a year by changing your commute

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Cars in traffic jam reflected off polished metal of tanker truckHow would you like to have an extra four days a year to do whatever you please? It's simple -- just move from Los Angeles to Wichita, Kan. and you could chop a whopping 4.24 days each year out of the time you spend commuting.

The average American spends 52 minutes a day commuting by car to and from work, meaning that in a normal work year we spend 218 hours, or over 9 days in the car. According to the Texas Transportation Institute's study of 90 U.S. cities, traffic congestion caused the country $87.2 billion of lost productivity in 2007 and wasted 2.8 billion gallons of gas.

There is a wide gap between cities and commute times, however. Here are the best and worst commute times based on 2007 statistics as compiled by the Texas Transportation Institute and reported by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Best very large cities: how long a traffic-free 1 hour commute would take during rush hour:
Boston -- 1 hour 16 minutes
Philadelphia -- 1 hour 17 minutes
Detroit -- 1 hour 17 minutes
Seattle -- 1 hour 17 minutes
Phoenix -- 1 hour 18 minutes

Worst very large cities
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. -- 1 hour 29 minutes
Chicago -- 1 hour 26 minutes
San Francisco-Oakland -- 1 hour 25 minutes
Washington, D.C. -- 1 hour 23 minutes
New York-Newark -- 1 hour 22 minutes

Best large cities
Buffalo, N.Y. -- 1 hour 4 minutes
Kansas City, Mo.-Kan. -- 1 hour 4 minutes
Cleveland, Ohio -- 1 hour 5 minutes
Pittsburgh, Pa. -- 1 hour 5 minutes
Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. -- 1 hour 7 minutes

Worst large cities
San Diego, Calif. -- 1 hour 22 minutes
San Jose, Calif. -- 1 hour 22 minutes
Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. -- 1 hour 22 minutes
Sacramento, Calif. -- 1 hour 19 minutes
Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. -- 1 hour 19 minutes

Best medium cities
Rochester, N.Y. -- 1 hour 4 minutes
Springfield, Mass.-Conn. -- 1 hour 4 minutes
Akron, Ohio -- 1 hour 4 minutes
Toledo, Ohio-Mich. -- 1 hour 5 minutes
Bakersfield, Calif. -- 1 hour 5 minutes

Worst medium cities
Bridgeport-Stamford, Conn.-N.Y. -- 1 hour 15 minutes
Tuscon, Ariz. -- 1 hour 14 minutes
Oxnard-Ventura, Calif. -- 1 hour 14 minutes
Honolulu, Hawaii -- 1 hour 14 minutes
Louisville Ky.-Ind. -- 1 hour 12 minutes

Best small cities
Wichita, Kan. -- 1 hour 1 minute
Beaumont, Texas -- 1 hour 3 minutes
Corpus Christi, Texas -- 1 hour 3 minutes
Spokane, Wash. -- 1 hour 3 minutes
Anchorage, Alaska -- 1 hour 4 minutes

Worst small cities
Charleston-North Charleston, S.C. -- 1 hour 12 minutes
Cape Coral, Fla. --1 hour 10 minutes
Pensacola, Fla.-Ala. -- 1 hour 8 minutes
Laredo, Texas --1 hour 7 minutes
Knoxville, Tenn. -- 1 hour 7 minutes
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