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Driving on a damaged road would increase pollution and fuel consumption

Study says poor road conditions have an impact on the environment

1y ago

The Spanish Road Association (AEC) has carried out a study linking road quality and vehicle pollution. To do this, a group of experts measured the pollution level of a car and a semi on a damaged road and then on a renovated road. The results were then compared with a road in normal condition. The differences found were far from negligible.

These tests were carried out on a 28.6 mile stretch of motorway and confirm the experts' hypotheses. In the case of the car, CO2 emissions decreased by an average of 3.5% on a good quality asphalt. This reduction is even greater for trucks, where the CO2 reduction in this case is 4%.

If, on the other hand, the road surface is particularly damaged (deep cracks, numerous potholes, major deformations, etc.), cars can emit up to 9% more CO2. This figure falls to 6% for trucks. If the road is less damaged (fine cracks, minor potholes, slight deformations...), emissions increase by 5% and 4% respectively.

A poorly maintained road would also increase fuel consumption. It also poses additional safety problems (especially for motorcyclists in rainy weather). Tyres wear more quickly and some other vehicle components such as shock absorbers can be prematurely damaged.

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Comments (16)

  • Yeah it effects emissions because everyone goes and buys a SUV to cope with the extra lumps and bumps.

      1 year ago
  • Anyone that has studied statistics knows that a P Value is often set at 5%. Anything below that could be caused by chance.

    So I would like to know how many times they ran this test.

      1 year ago
  • Ha! Tell England that. Bloody potholes everywhere

      1 year ago
  • Pot holes in the UK last year cost me 2 new alloys and 6 tyres which on 265-35-19 were not cheap.

      1 year ago
  • But then repairing the road costs a lot of CO2 as well, as it's main ingredient - bitumen - is also derived from crude oil. Actually if refineries wouldn't produce more valuable products such as gasoline or diesel, making road paving materials wouldn't really be worth it either - only for higher traffic areas. That's why Australia and the US has so much unpaved gravel roads: the engineers calculated the public cost of higher fuel consumption with not using asphalt vs. the cost saved by vehicles rolling on smoother surface and they deemed it's not worth it on every back road. So this is a trade-off that's sometimes worth it.

      1 year ago
    • How does bitumen production reduce petrol and diesel production? It is a byproduct of the same crude cracking process, so to get more bitumen you need to crack more crude generating more petrol and diesel in the process.

        1 year ago
    • Sorry, misread the comment. yes, more bitumen produced would mean more emissions. But while that may be a motivation to leave remote roads unpaved, I’m not sure it’s a motivation for not fixing holes in already paved roads...

      Also, if...

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        1 year ago