Get 4 more free days a year by changing your commute

Cars in traffic jam reflected off polished metal of tanker truck
Cars in traffic jam reflected off polished metal of tanker truck

How 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