Everyone knows the importance of asphalt release agents in the paving industry. I would even say that most people consider it to be their best friend on the job. And while diesel fuel has been the asphalt paving industry’s gold standard as an asphalt release agent for decades, it comes with several hidden drawbacks that are pushing thousands of companies away to alternatives like PavePro. Let’s explore some common problems associated with diesel fuel and introduce you to our superior alternative: PavePro, the patented asphalt release agent designed to outperform diesel and other asphalt products on the market.
Before we get into the not-so-obvious drawbacks, let’s quickly go over the most obvious drawbacks that I am sure you’ve heard a thousand times:
Diesel fuel is illegal as an ARA under 3 federal laws
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, The Clean Water Act of 1972, and The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act all forbid contractors from using diesel fuel as an asphalt release agent. These acts impose fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars if a contractor is found in violation of them.
Let’s be honest; “It’s not legal if they don’t catch me,” and “I’ll just tell them it’s “release agent” aren’t going to work anymore. Believe it or not, asphalt plants across the country are now requiring purchase receipts of diesel fuel alternatives to get hot mix at the plant, and DOT inspectors are starting to crack down more and more every day on contractors. Nearly every day, we hear about companies getting fined for breaking the law by having diesel fuel in their sprayers.
Not to mention, there is no advantage to using diesel fuel over an alternative like PavePro that works better than diesel, but we’ll get into that later.
Diesel fuel is highly combustible and dangerous
We talk often about the importance of flash point when you’re using an asphalt release agent for two reasons: effectiveness and safety. We’ll talk about effectiveness in the next point, but safety is a huge factor that cannot be left out.
Diesel fuel itself, as a liquid, is not incredibly flammable. Generally speaking, gasoline is more flammable than diesel fuel in liquid form. But when you begin to heat the diesel fuel (when it touches hot mix) it begins to vaporize immediately and releases highly combustible fumes that can instantly explode.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories of asphalt plant explosions, hot box blasts, and other crazy scenarios from diesel fuel combusting, yet so many contractors still seem to ignore the dangers presented by using it.
Let this story do the talking. This could be you. It could be your son. It could be your friend.
Diesel fuel is short-lasting
In addition to the dangers presented by using diesel fuel under extreme heat, I would be remiss to not mention how hot mix affects the efficacy of diesel fuel.
I’m sure you’ve seen the steam that comes up when you start spraying your equipment and tools when they are hot. The flash point of diesel fuel is around 125°F. As soon as it hits that hot metal, it’s going to immediately start to steam up and evaporate away.
As a release agent, this is bad. If the diesel fuel evaporates away, it’s not going to continue preventing build-up. That’s why you only get 1 load per application in a truck bed and only 20-some shovel loads before you have to reapply more diesel fuel. You end up using 5-6x the amount of product you’d have to use compared to PavePro and spend way more money in the process.
But all of these things, you probably already knew. Let’s talk about the less obvious drawbacks of diesel fuel, that most people ignore or don’t even know about.
Tired of your good-for-nothing asphalt solvent or release agent and ready to make a switch?
The Not-So-Obvious Drawbacks
Diesel fuel destroys your hot mix integrity
Diesel fuel strips asphalt. It is as simple as that. Yes, it is a decent release agent, but it’s also used as a solvent to break down the bitumen within the asphalt. That’s bad. Using diesel fuel as a release agent destroys the integrity of the asphalt and the mat that you lay.
Once the mix is laid, the leftover diesel fuel continues to penetrate the bitumen and separates it from the aggregate causing crumbling, cracking, and shortening the overall lifespan of the pavement.
Before you ask how PavePro is any different, let’s go ahead and clear the air.
Yes, PavePro is a release agent and asphalt solvent. And yes, we recommend our customers use it on their tools and equipment to prevent build-up and clean up afterward. But PavePro is different in two ways.
1) PavePro is 100% biodegradable
The problem with diesel fuel occurs because it doesn’t biodegrade. It causes problems over time because the small amount of diesel fuel left on the pavement slowly breaks down the asphalt. PavePro, on the other hand, is 100% biodegradable and does so 18x faster than its competitors. After laying your mat, it begins to immediately biodegrade and does not cause any issues to the pavement.
2) You use an insignificant amount of PavePro compared to diesel for better results
Due to the flash point that we discussed earlier, you use a significantly smaller amount of product for the same results. This means that within the freshly laid pavement, there will be less PavePro than there would be diesel fuel. And by weight, the amount of PavePro required to prevent build-up is less than 0.001% of the total mix and will not compromise the integrity of the asphalt.
Diesel fuel is a health risk for workers
Diesel is a hydrocarbon-based fuel. There’s a long list of over 40 pollutants and toxic compounds that pose health risks for workers contained insde diesel fuel. Aside from the environmental effects, the primary toxic compounds that genuinely affect the health and safety of workers include:
- Particulate matter (PM)
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Hydrocarbons (HC)
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- “Hazardous air pollutants” under The Clean Air Act
Studies show that exposure to diesel vapors primarily affects the respiratory system and worsens asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and lung function. There is also some evidence that the vapors emitted from diesel fuel can increase the risk of heart problems, premature death, and lung cancer. It’s safe to say that workers are better off avoiding coming into direct contact with diesel fuel as much as possible.
Spiling diesel fuel ruins a fresh mat
Just a little bit of diesel fuel spilled onto the pavement can be a huge headache for a paving crew and your wallet.
Whether your guys are spraying their shovels near the mat or the new kid knocks over a bucket of diesel with his shovel onto the fresh asphalt, even just a little bit of the good ‘ol #2 can completely ruin the pavement. Then, you have to get your guys to mill up the area and repave it.
PavePro, on the other hand, is 100% deactivated with water. If you spill it on a fresh mat, you can just rinse it off with water. You won’t have to waste time and money fixing someone’s mistake.
Our patented asphalt release agent is specifically designed to replace diesel fuel and outperform other asphalt products on the market. It solves all of the problems and drawbacks that we just discussed. By using PavePro, paving companies can ensure the longevity of their equipment and vehicles, as well as the safety of their workers and the integrity of their asphalt mix. Plus, since PavePro is a long-lasting solution, it can save companies money in the long run. Switching to PavePro is a smart choice for paving companies that want to prioritize safety, efficiency, and quality in their projects.
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