As many as 71% of British workers travel to work by car, a study by the RAC Foundation suggests.
The RAC says more needs to be done to get people out of their cars
Just 14% of commuters go to the office by bus or train, while 11% walk, the motoring group found.
The foundation urged the government and employers to take urgent action to encourage people to use cars less.
The research also found the most dangerous region in which to commute was north-west England, while London commuters faced the worst CO2 levels.
25m people commute to and from work in the UK
54% of all the cars in the UK are used for commuting
3% of UK workers travel at least three hours every day
Men commute on average 20% longer than women
Source: RAC Foundation
According to the RAC's report, The UK commute: Healthy or hazardous?, the average UK worker spends 54 minutes commuting, and is likely to travel the equivalent of two-and-a-half times around the globe over a full working career.
It found the average distance of a British worker's daily commute was 8.7 miles (14km), but one in ten commuters endured more than a two-hour journey.
People who work in London faced an average journey of 86 minutes, the RAC said.
North-west England was judged to be the most hazardous region to travel in, taking into account travel times, collision rates and CO2 levels. It was followed by London and eastern England.
'Lack of alternative'
The RAC found north-east England was the least dangerous area, followed by the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside.
The foundation's chief executive director, Edmund King, called for individuals, employers and the government to get "smarter about commuting".
"We need to plan for the diverse 18m car journeys that are made every day, but we also need to be smarter about how we encourage people to reduce their car use," he said.
"The sheer number of car commuters and the lack of alternative transport means that the car will remain the main way of getting to work for the foreseeable future.
"We cannot ignore this and hope that everyone will take the train."
Commuting was no longer just a problem in London and south-east England, he said, but now affected the whole country.
The RAC wants to see more support for home-working, better public transport systems and affordable parking at workplaces that do not have public transport access.