As area residents continue to try and cope with rising gas prices, researchers at MIT say that better roads might be one overlooked solution.
According to AAA, in the past week, regular gas prices in Massachusetts rose by two cents, from $3.75 to $3.77 and by more than 29 cents in the past month, from $3.48.
The experts Massachusetts Institute of Technology Concrete Sustainability Hub state that pavement has a scientific property known as deflection, which results with the weight of a car makes a slight indentation in the road that the vehicle has to continually drive out of, resulting in more fuel spent. They equated the action to walking in sand, where with each step a person’s feet sink and creates dips.
When municipalities use pavement that is stiffer, the researchers said, deflection and subsequently fuel consumption is decreased by as much as 3 percent. The reduction in fuel consumption could result in an extra 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, of $15.6 billion.
The researchers said that by using concrete pavement instead of asphalt, a car’s carbon “footprint” and gas consumption are greatly reduced.
The MIT experts hope that the findings, which they will discuss at a briefing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, will help achieve a more sustainable national infrastructure. The Concrete Sustainability Hub is collaboration with the Portland Cement Association and the Ready Mixed Concrete and Education Foundation.