Why The DOT Cares About Your Asphalt Release Agent

Diesel fuel is the most common asphalt release agent in the United States. It’s cheap, readily available, and does a decent job at preventing asphalt build-up. But did you know it’s illegal to use?

I would actually be surprised if you said no. After all, there’s a reason that diesel fuel has about a hundred different code names: “release,” “number two,” “Aunt Jemima Secret Pancake Sauce,” “Contractor Solvent,” “Kool-aid” and so many more. Most professionals in the paving industry know about the regulations, but few follow them. Unless, of course, they are enforced.

Many people shrug off the regulations thinking that it has everything to do with the environment, but in actuality, it’s a lot more complex of an issue than that. In fact, the environment is just a small part of the larger issue. Let’s take a look at why diesel fuel is illegal as an asphalt release agent and learn about a legal replacement that works better.

It is easier to explain the ban on diesel fuel when you understand who is making the decision behind it and what their motivation to regulate it is.

Environmental Concerns

Starting with the most simple and obvious is the Environmental Protection Agency prohibiting the discharge of petroleum-based products like diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, and WD-40 into the environment. Laws like the Oil Pollution Act, Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act all affect how contractors can dispose of and use petroleum-based products.

But if you’re not a big environmentalist, you probably don’t care about pollution regulations–and to be frank, the DOT probably doesn’t care either. But what they do care about is the asphalt you’re laying.


Degradation of Asphalt

The Departments of Transportation across the United States have one main goal: to ensure safe and effective travel. But to do so, they have to regulate specifications on how roads are paved and what materials are used.

Most people in the industry are familiar with these specifications, but you might still not know why diesel fuel and other petroleum-based products specifically are banned as asphalt release agents, but the answer is honestly quite simple.

Diesel fuel degrades asphalt.

Diesel fuel, being a petroleum-based product, has a similar chemical composition to the oils and binders used in asphalt. The main reason diesel fuel dissolves the oil in asphalt is due to the principle of “like dissolves like” in chemistry. This principle states that substances with similar chemical structures and properties are more likely to dissolve in each other. Since both diesel fuel and asphalt are hydrocarbon-based substances, diesel fuel can interact with the bitumen in the asphalt.

When diesel fuel comes into contact with asphalt, it penetrates the surface and starts to dissolve the bitumen binder. This dissolution process breaks down the cohesive forces that hold the asphalt mixture together, leading to a softening of the asphalt. As the binder dissolves, the structural integrity of the asphalt is compromised, resulting in the weakening and eventual disintegration of the pavement.

The effects of diesel fuel on asphalt can include:

  1. Softening and weakening: The dissolved binder reduces the overall strength of the asphalt, making it more susceptible to deformation and damage under the weight of traffic.
  2. Surface degradation: Diesel fuel can cause the surface of the asphalt to become tacky and sticky, attracting dirt and debris, which accelerates wear and tear.
  3. Premature failure: Continued exposure to diesel fuel can lead to potholes, cracks, and other forms of pavement failure, necessitating costly repairs and maintenance.

With that in mind, it is much easier to understand why a DOT would want to prohibit contractors from using diesel fuel in their paving operations: they want to prolong the life of their pavement.

Don’t Forget Asphalt Plants

Asphalt plants, too, have a vested interest in the asphalt release agent you are using. At the end of the day, an asphalt plant is selling a product and the last thing they want is for their product to be ruined by a petroleum-based release.

To protect their asphalt mix integrity and avoid any fingers being pointed at them for having bad mix, asphalt plants across the country are starting to prohibit the use of diesel fuel in truck beds before loading up with hot mix.

Tired of your good-for-nothing asphalt remover or release agent and ready to make a switch?

PavePro’s “Better Than Diesel” Asphalt Release Agent

If you are in the market for a new asphalt release agent to replace diesel fuel, either by choice or by force, you’ve come to the right place.


All About PavePro’s Solution

Unlike diesel fuel, PavePro is not petroleum-based. It’s also not a citrus-base or a soy-base. PavePro is the first and only patented replacement for diesel fuel designed to outperform and outlast the release qualities of diesel fuel.

PavePro is DOT-approved and unlike petroleum products, won’t degrade the integrity of the asphalt you are paving. It was specifically designed, lab-formulated, and field-tested to effectively prevent asphalt build-up without damaging your asphalt.

But that’s not all.

PavePro works better than diesel fuel at preventing asphalt build-up.

With the highest flash point on the market (well above 400°F), PavePro is the longest-lasting asphalt release agent on the market. It will make a noticeable difference in your paving operations: apply it to your paver hopper twice a day or your truck bed after multiple loads.

In general, PavePro lasts 3-4x longer than diesel fuel, reducing the need for frequent reapplication, cleaning breaks, and downtime. You’ll also use less product and save more money using PavePro.


The Benefits Don’t Stop There

PavePro clears diesel fuel in nearly every single category:

Environment Safety – PavePro is 100% biodegradable and environmentally safe. It meets all EPA and RCRA standards. PavePro avoids all potential DOT and EPA fines and suspensions.

Crew Safety – Unlike our competitors, PavePro is safe for workers, non-toxic, non-hazardous, and water-deactivated. It is also not flammable and has a high flash point.

Operational Efficiency – PavePro reduces the need for maintenance and downtime by lubricating moving parts and preventing asphalt build-up simultaneously. Because of its long-lasting nature, PavePro requires less frequent application and helps keep your machines and equipment in working condition.

Innovative Formulations – PavePro comes in three forms: Green, Gold, and Blue. Each has a specific purpose because no one product can do it all.

Using diesel fuel as a release agent for asphalt is not just illegal but also damaging to the asphalt you are laying. While diesel might seem like a quick and cheap solution, its tendency to degrade asphalt leads to premature road failures, increased maintenance costs, and regulatory issues. This is why the DOT and other authorities have strict regulations against its use.

Switching to PavePro offers numerous benefits. Not only is it a legal, DOT-approved replacement, but it’s also safer for the environment and your crew. PavePro outperforms diesel in preventing asphalt build-up, lasts longer, and reduces downtime and maintenance needs. Plus, its non-toxic, non-flammable nature ensures a safer working environment.

For asphalt professionals, adopting PavePro as your asphalt release agent is a no-brainer. It’s a step towards more efficient operations, better compliance with regulations, and ultimately, a higher quality of work. Make the switch today and experience the PavePro difference.

Figure out what PavePro Release Agent you need here.



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