Warm-mix asphalt usage reaches new levels

Survey finds nearly one-fourth of asphalt tonnage produced in 2012 used warm-mix

Nearly a quarter of all asphalt mixtures produced in the 2012 construction season were produced using warm-mix asphalt (WMA) technologies, according to a survey of the U.S. asphalt pavement industry.

The survey, conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) under contract to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), found that the 1,141 U.S. asphalt plants queried produced about 86.7 million tons of WMA during the 2012 construction season.

This marks a 416 percent increase in the use of warm-mix since the survey was first conducted in 2009.

Because WMA is produced at a lower temperature than traditional asphalt mixes, it can use less energy to produce, reduce emissions and offer construction benefits. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx commented in January during the 2014 Transportation Research Board annual meeting that the use of WMA is expected to save $3.6 billion in energy costs alone by 2020.

The survey was conducted in mid-2013. Results from 213 companies with 1,141 plants in 48 states and Puerto Rico, along with data from 36 state asphalt pavement associations, were used to calculate industry estimates for total tonnage.

A copy of the full survey is available online.