How Sustainable is Asphalt?

Sustainability is top of mind for many people in California. The Golden State ranks #5 for greenest states overall and third for eco-friendly behaviors. If you’re trying to create a better future for your community, then sustainability is likely to factor into buying decisions.

Even when it comes to paving materials.

How Sustainable is Asphalt?

Asphalt is the most sustainable paving material! Most new asphalt is made from 94% asphalt reclaimed from old roads and parking lots.  

Asphalt is 100% reusable and it's recycled at a far greater rate than other materials—even more than newspaper and soda bottles! 
Reclaimed asphalt pavement performs as well or better than original mixes. In 2019, recycled asphalt saved nearly 60 million cubic yards of landfill space. 

Asphalt Doesn’t Contribute to Greenhouse Gasses

Much of the asphalt binder used in producing asphalt pavement comes from a fossil fuel byproduct that was never burned and therefore never released its CO2.  

The EPA says that 99.6% of the carbon in the binder is stored and doesn't contribute to greenhouse gasses.  Using that oil byproduct for asphalt uses less energy than converting that same byproduct into fuel.  

Concrete production, in contrast, is one of the most significant contributors to CO2 emissions.  Gravel is one of the most eco-friendly "paving" materials (it has virtually no C02 emissions) but takes more maintenance and doesn’t always meet ADA requirements for parking lots.

Asphalt Increases Vehicle Efficiency

Well-maintained asphalt results in a smooth roadway, which increases vehicle fuel efficiency. Thanks to advanced materials and construction techniques, asphalt provides a smooth, continuous surface that requires less maintenance than rougher roads and lowers vehicle operating costs.

Nearly 80% of pavement engineers and state highway agency officials say that asphalt provides the smoothest pavement.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) quantified the relationship between smooth pavements and improved fuel economy and found smoother pavements lead to 4.5% lower fuel consumption.

While manufacturers make strides to improve an automobile’s fuel economy, transportation agencies, researchers, and engineers are concurrently working to refine and build smooth roadways that do the same. 

All told, Americans burn 175 billion gallons of fuel driving approximately 3 trillion miles a year. 

If roads across the nation were smoother and maintained in good condition, approximately 4 percent of the fuel consumed could be saved, reducing annual vehicle fuel consumption by about 7 billion gallons — the equivalent of taking more than 10 million vehicles off the road every year.

Keeping asphalt roadways, parking lots, and driveways well-maintained and in good condition results in sustainable benefits for the entire community. For more information about asphalt paving services in the CA Bay Area, let the experienced team at JV Lucas Paving give you a free quote.

Request a consultation today.