Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oil Shortage Straight to Roads

Seems like there is an asphalt shortage. This is why we need to get off of oil sooner rather than later.

6 comments:

rhywun said...

Huh. I'm not even sure I was aware that asphalt was made out of oil. Maybe we'll be back to bricks soon....

njh said...

yellow brick roads?

The problem with switching to cement is that it requires significant amounts of heat, currently provided by natural gas, or rarely, coke. If roads are switched to concrete this means a big increase in CO2 output (cement is already one of the largests sources of CO2 world wide). The same issues affect ceramic bricks (which are also brittle).

Steel roads are much longer lasting ;)

Anonymous said...

Steel roads?

Oh you mean "Chemin de fer".

Those things are great and we need more of those in North America!

Kiran said...

I work in the refining industry, and there is a huge push to make more diesel. So you upgrade the asphalt molecules (break them essentially) to lighter components. It leaves you with coke (heavier), and diesel/gasoline.

A big thing though is that asphalt prices didn't start their run up until a few years after oil did. As refiners started processing heavier crudes (after the decline of the North Sea and similar fields), there were more asphalt molecules to go around.

So road makers had a reprieve on asphalt costs for a few extra years. So now as asphalt has 'caught up' its pretty painful.

jon said...

with all this infrastructure spending in the coming years, its not a good time to have an asphalt shortage i guess we'll just have to build more rail then roads :)

arcady said...

And best of all, steel can be recycled, you just have to take the old rails, melt them down, and make new rails that are as good as any, with fairly little loss of steel.