The Asphalt Pavement Alliance has released a new report on pavement smoothness and how it directly affects vehicle fuel economy.
Entitled “Smoothness Matters”, the report cites studies that show trucks running on slightly smoother pavements can reduce their fuel consumption by 4.5 percent.
The report illustrates how slight improvements in vehicle fuel economy can have a profound impact when leveraged across the country. “Improving pavement smoothness over a typical roadway network can have dramatic effects,” said Dr. Howard Marks, the report author.
“In fact, it has been documented that a road maintenance program that increases pavement smoothness only slightly could reduce annual vehicle fuel consumption by up to 10 percent on those roads. Overall, there is potential for saving about 7 billion gallons of fuel annually in the U.S. This would be equivalent to taking over 10 million vehicles off the road every year,” Marks said.
The report also points out that asphalt roads tend to start out smooth and stay smooth throughout their service life. Typical maintenance and rehabilitation activities are usually in the form of overlays, which give the traveling public smooth, quiet surface that’s just as good as new.
The Asphalt Pavement Alliance is made up of the Asphalt Institute, the National Asphalt Pavement Association and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations.