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Fixing Potholes Can Help Save the Planet

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Basically, potholes lack any redeeming qualities. They make the streets an unsightly mess. They make the road more treacherous to navigate, and they can cause severe damage to your vehicle. Fixing them to help save wear and tear on your car would be a good enough reason to put in the work. But according to new research, fixing potholes goes much further than driver comfort — it could also be one of the integral changes necessary in tackling climate change.

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“The results show that pavement preservation brings significant environmental benefit in reduction of CO2 emission due to the improved pavement surface condition despite the emission generated at construction state,” according to research by Hao Wang, Israa Al-Saddi, Pan Lu, and Abbas Jasim published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.

Even though repairing potholes requires heavy-duty and pollutant-releasing equipment like steamrollers, “filling cracks and potholes does more to limit emissions overall,” according to Popular Science writer Marlene Cimons.

Potholes cause drivers to reduce speed in order to minimize pothole impact or to help avoid potholes altogether. This maneuvering and speed reduction results in a less-than-fuel efficient mode of transport.

“Drivers have to burn more gas and produce more carbon pollution to go the same distance,” writes Cimons.

By preventing potholes from happening in the first place with regular road maintenance, governments can save money while helping vehicles to be more fuel-efficient, she adds.

“Scientists came to this conclusion after studying data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Long-Term Pavement Performance program as well as data from the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator developed by the EPA to assess the environmental impact of roadway repairs,” Cimons reports.

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Preventing and repairing existing potholes not only helps drivers, but also benefits government budgets, and, most importantly, helps protect the environment. More than enough reason to repair (or prevent) cracks, holes, and bumps in the road ASAP.

News Source: International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Popular Science