MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub Finds Stiffer Pavements Can Reduce Fuel Use

Group estimates a pavement property called deflection could result in savings of up to $15 billion a year

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MIT researchers have found that a pavement property called deflection could save more than $15 billion in annual fuel costs.

Pavement deflection is when your car makes a slight indentation in the road from which you are constantly driving out of and burning more fuel. The effect is similar to walking on sand. With each step, your feet sink and create a dip.

MIT researchers found that using stiffer pavements decreases deflection and reduces fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent — a savings that could add up to 273 million barrels of crude oil per year, or $15.6 billion.

Concrete pavements, inherently stiffer than asphalt, can reduce a car's "footprint" and gas costs.

By reducing the environmental footprint of our pavement systems, MIT researchers hope to achieve a more sustainable national infrastructure.

Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Concrete Sustainability Hub will be available for briefings on this topic at Meet the HUB @ MIT, 9 a.m. -3 p.m., February 27, 2013 at MIT Media Lab, Building E14, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge, Mass.

The Concrete Sustainability Hub is a research center established at MIT in collaboration with the Portland Cement Association and the Ready Mixed Concrete Research and Education Foundation.