What are the benefits of asphalt pavements environmentally and economically?

Each year more than 100 million tons of asphalt pavement is reused or recycled into new pavement, making it America's most recycled material. Asphalt pavements are comprised of approximately 95% aggregates (stone, sand, gravel) and 5% asphalt cement (the binder holding together the aggregates). When asphalt pavement is going through the recycling process the old asphalt cement is rejuvenated as well as the aggregates.  Ground rubber tires and roofing shingles can also be mixed into (RAP) reclaimed asphalt pavements adding additional recycling benefits from other industries.  In an average batch of asphalt 12% is RAP materials the remaining mix is virgin aggregate and asphalt cement. Some states allow up to 30% RAP. Research has been conducted showing that even higher percentages of RAP mix is equal to or even better quality than mixes of all virgin materials. As a country if we were to mill our roadways before new asphalt overlays are installed we would have higher rates of asphalt recycling where RAP is scarce and enhance the durability of the reclaimed pavement. The milling will allow the surface have a smoother even finish with minimal distresses allowing for increased gas mileage of vehicles traveling on that road as well as having a quieter ride.

Asphalt is America’s backbone.

There are over 2.6 million miles of paved roads across the U.S. Over 94% of these roads are surfaced with asphalt. 85% of both airfields and the nation's parking lots are paved with asphalt. 


What is a perpetual pavement?

A perpetual pavement is an asphalt pavement that has been designed to be able to be maintained over an extended period of time without the need for demolition or replacement. The pavement is constructed in layers, with each one serving a specific purpose. The top layer can be resurfaced using a process called milling and a new layer placed on top known as an asphalt overlay. The asphalt overlay performs just as well as a newly paved surface and saves a significant amount of economic and environmental resources. Engineering studies have been conducted across multiple states showing such pavements have lasted up to 40 years without signs of structural failure. 

Asphalt Roofing Shingles Before and After Recycling


Quick Facts:

  • The smoother the asphalt pavement is, the higher fuel efficiency a vehicle has traveling on it.
  • Deicing chemicals can be reduced during winter on porous asphalt by up to 75 - 100 percent.
  • Porous asphalt allows for stormwater to drain in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Studies show that neither asphalt pavement or reclaimed pavement leach petroleum.