Here’s a tip: right now is the best time in years to get a paving job done. This month, New York State’s Department of Transportation posted the lowest average asphalt prices in years. The DOT’s website shows prices over the last three years, and over that time, asphalt prices reached a high of $632 per ton in August of 2014. It is now at $392 per ton, almost a 40 percent drop.
If you’re not well-versed in the exotic science of asphalt and cement, you may not know that much of the asphalt mixes used in parking lots and roads everywhere contain petroleum, which acts as a binding agent for the stone mixture that we all know as asphalt. If you’ve been to the gas pump lately, you’ve probably noted the vintage prices.
How Low Can You Go?
But, petroleum product only makes up about 5 percent of asphalt material, says Dave Chesky, vice president of Falcon Engineering, LLC, which has offices in New York City, New Jersey and around the country. The bigger reason prices are so low right now is how much diesel fuel paving equipment uses; from the trucks, pavers, milling machines, and bulldozers used, they all run on diesel. And right now diesel fuel hasn’t been this cheap since 2005, well before that traumatic summer of 2008 when gas prices skyrocketed to over four bucks a gallon in many parts of the country.
With the opportune lows in asphalt and diesel, Chesky also says the cheapest time of any year to get a paving job done is right now, early spring, when the weather warms to above freezing, but when demand is still low. “Prices fluctuate on a monthly basis on this stuff, and right now there’s no demand for asphalt. Right now the plants are shifting to summer operations. Summer mixes are going to come in and prices will go up. You’ll see prices go up in the next month. As demand increases with asphalt, prices will go up,” says Chesky.