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The 10 worst commutes in the Twin Cities

How much does your commute suck? Hopefully not as much as the good people of Isanti's.

How much does your commute suck? Hopefully not as much as the good people of Isanti's.

For a lot of people, hours spent transporting to and from work are the most wasteful of the week. It's great for radio ratings, but instead of bumper-to-bumper crawling between home and your dead-end job, you could be playing with your dog or finishing that terrible screenplay you started in college.

Consider the cost of gas and car insurance, lest the capricious lane-changer on his phone sideswipe you, and the time and money burned getting to work is kinda depressing.

To make you feel extra miserable about your morning drive, NerdWallet.com crunched some numbers to determine where residents in the Twin Cities (and inexplicably a few Milwaukee-area towns) have the worst commutes. The consumer finance website weighed the prices of gas and auto insurance, average drive times and use of public transportation to rank  56 cities and highlight the 10 most awful.

Congratulations, people of Isanti. You officially have the crappiest commute in the region. According to census data, NO ONE there uses mass transit and the commute times — 36.5 minutes each way — are easily the area's longest. Isanti's overall score was almost half of runner-up loser Zimmerman's. Sitting between Minneapolis and St. Cloud, rural Zimmerman fared consistently bad (but not the worst!) in all metrics. Few have bus passes and gas and insurance ain't cheap, while drivers spend the second most time in their pickup trucks.

Third-worst North Branch residents, at least those presumably not employed by the town's Gymboree outlet store, spend more than an hour and five minutes commuting each day — just a few ticks longer than folks from Elko New Market and Becker, Nos. 4 and 5.

Not surprisingly, Minneapolis had the best total score among the pool of 56. Nearly 30 percent of Minneapolitans shirk cars in their commutes, with 13.4 percent rolling mass transit. The city's 22.3-minute travel times (tied with St. Paul) are some of the lowest, helping overcome the most expensive insurance premiums, which cost drivers $1,464 on average.

In a battle of saints, St. Cloud bested St. Paul for the second-highest grade, thanks to the quickest commutes in the metro-ish area. St. Cloud's 17.8-minute commutes are less than half of what those poor Isanti saps face, giving Granite City dwellers an extra three days and eight hours of free time a year.

List makers might have been a little confused, as several major 'burbs weren't included, yet Richfield, Wis. – not far from Lake Michigan – makes the “Twin Cities” cut.

Send news tips to Michael Rietmulder.