Britpave: The British In-Situ Concrete Paving Association

Concrete Road Fuel Savings

BRIT 148 - 11th April 2011

A growing amount of research is finding that, when compared to asphalt roads, driving on concrete roads delivers dramatic fuel savings particularly for heavy goods vehicles. With petrol prices continuing to the rise, the research makes interesting reading for anyone concerned about the cost of filling up their vehicles.

Research carried out the Canadian National Research Council’s Centre for Surface Transportation Technology (1) found that at 100km/h a heavy goods lorry used up to 1.8% less fuel when travelling on a concrete road compared to an asphalt pavement and up to 3.1% less fuel compared to a composite (asphalt topcoat over concrete). When travelling at 60km/h, the fuel saving was up to 3% compared to the asphalt road and up to 6% compared to the composite road.

For a passenger car, the concrete road fuel saving was 2.9% compared with the asphalt road pavement and a reduction of 2.3% fuel consumption compared to the composite pavement.

The Canadian research has been backed up by new research carried in Sweden by the Road and Transport Research Institute (2). The Swedish research examined the fuel consumption of a Volvo car and a 60 tonne lorry on the E4 motorway north of Uppsala, Sweden, which has both concrete and asphalt sections. Driving on the concrete section the lorry used 6.7% less fuel than when driving on the asphalt section. The car used 1.1% less fuel on the concrete section compared to the asphalt.

Similarly, research carried out in Japan by the Nippon Expressway Research Institute, together with Narita International Airport and the Japan Cement Association (3) found that the fuel consumption of a heavy good vehicle is up to 3.4% less on a concrete road compared to asphalt.

“What the research found is that the smoother ride offered by concrete pavements compared to the ride resistance of asphalt roads contributes to significant fuel savings. This is a direct cost and sustainability benefit that drivers can understand.” said David Jones, director of the transport infrastructure group Britpave. “The findings provide further evidence of the benefits of having concrete inside lanes for dual carriageways and motorways. These ‘truck lanes’, in addition to enabling fuel savings, would also provide longer performance and need less remedial maintenance.”

  1. Effects of pavement structure on vehicle fuel consumption. G.Taylor and J.Patten, Centre for Surface Transport Technology, National Research Council of Canada. 2002
  2. Measurements of fuel consumption on an asphalt pavement and a concrete pavement in Sweden. B-A.Hultqvist, Department of Road Engineering, Road and Transport Research Institute, Sweden. 2010.
  3. Effect of pavement type on rolling resistance and fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles. T.Yoshimoto, Japan Cement Association; T.Kazato, Nippon Expressway Research Co. Ltd; I.Hayakawa, Narita International Airport Co. Ltd. 2010.