They then pay for more time than they need to avoid tickets that would likely cost less, concludes a study released on Wednesday by traffic data aggregator INRIX.
As cities become more congested, the direct and indirect costs of parking are a headache for motorists and policy makers, who often have conflicting goals.
Drivers want cheap, plentiful parking while governments in many large cities want to discourage vehicle traffic, reduce congestion and cut the air pollution generated as cars hunt for on- or off-street parking.
Carmakers and technology companies, meanwhile, hope to profit from guiding motorists more smoothly into parking spaces using smartphone apps or technology that automates parking maneuvers.
Closely held INRIX of Kirkland, Washington provides traffic data to parking services and automakers and owns the parking reservation app ParkMe.
The study of parking costs was based on information from the company's parking database and survey responses from 18,000 drivers in 30 cities in Britain, Germany and the United States, the company said.
In the UK, motorists pay for excess parking time by an average of 209 pounds, although average parking ticket costs are 39 pounds a year, the study found.
The search for parking consumes time and fuel valued at 733 pounds.
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