With the rough vehicle fuel economy, many people are trying to cut back on driving. For a lot of us, this may be easier said than done. Here’s some good news though, and it may make you rethink how you feel about road construction. Smooth asphalt extends road life by minimizing tire bounce and load impacts. But it can also help lower your vehicle’s fuel consumption, which means cost savings for you in the end.
Download the e-book below
The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA) published an excellent e-book discussing the benefits of smooth asphalt and how making small changes can make a big difference. It’s worth the read and available for download on their website.
In summary, the e-book discusses the three characteristics that researchers are looking at as a way to reduce vehicle fuel consumption. That’s something we can all appreciate. The characteristics that they’re analyzing are rolling resistance, pavement stiffness, and pavement smoothness.
Of the three, pavement smoothness has the biggest impact on overall fuel efficiency. Studies done by the Federal Highway Administration show driving on smoother surfaces can reduce fuel consumption 4.5-5 percent as compared to rough pavement. That really adds up. Look at an excerpt from their report:
“Americans burn 175 billion gallons of fuel driving 3 trillion miles a year. If we could make roads across the nation smoother, we could likely save at least 4% of the fuel consumed. This could reduce annual vehicle fuel consumption by about 7 billion gallons. That’s equivalent to taking over 10 million vehicles off the road every year.”
So, if pavement smoothness is a big part of the equation, which pavement is better for highway construction – concrete or asphalt? Of the studies done by both concrete and asphalt advocates, it seems like comparing apples to oranges.
One thing of note, generally speaking, asphalt pavement is smoother than concrete. This is supported by smoothness standards states have in place to ensure the quality of finished paving projects. The smoothness requirements for asphalt roads are more stringent than for concrete roads – mainly because of the inherent features of each of the materials. Plain and simple, it’s easier to produce smoother asphalt roads.
Whether it’s concrete or asphalt, the facts are clear – smooth pavement means less fuel consumption and wear and tear on your vehicle, which saves you money in the end.