Published: Sep 28, 2011 6:20 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 28, 2011 9:38 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- How long does your commute take each morning? Now, think how much faster it could go if you didn't have to wait in traffic. The amount of time local drivers spend dealing with commuter delays may certainly surprise you.

Each morning, WINK News warns drivers about traffic conditions on Southwest Florida roadways in hopes of saving them a few minutes on their commute, but when looking at the big picture, drivers actually spend hours of their lives each year dealing with back-ups.

It could be much worse for Southwest Florida drivers.

According to the latest Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report, each Lee County driver spends 23 hours a year in traffic and $464 a year in wasted fuel costs because of the back-ups. But some find that number hard to believe. Nationwide, the study found Americans lost 4.8 billion hours of time and burned 1.9 billion extra gallons of fuel in 2010. Cape Coral Fort Myers ranks 69th overall out of 439 urban areas in time and money wasted because of traffic tie-ups. The study says things could be worse if not for public transit.

Overall, the study found the average commuter endured about 34 hours of delays each year. So locally, we enjoy about eleven more hours each year not spent behind the wheel.