Diesel fuel: the asphalt paving industry’s go-to asphalt release agent. That was, until recently. Nowadays, asphalt plants are prohibiting the use of diesel fuel as a release agent. It’s not just illegal; it has a multitude of problems solved by products like PavePro. Let’s look at what makes diesel fuel so bad to use and how you can avoid the problems it causes.
The most important reason that diesel fuel and other petroleum-based materials are frowned upon by asphalt plants, state DOTs and the Federal Highway Administration is due to the stripping that occurs, pulling the asphalt cement from the aggregate and causing mix degradation and shortened project life span. Diesel fuel essentially ruins the mix the plant provides.
Contractors should take pride in their work. If you use diesel fuel, it immediately begins decreasing the quality of the job. That’s why the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) was formed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. NTPEP helps DOTs and contractors alike test products for their effectiveness and safety to ensure that your projects are completed using the best products available that don’t harm the quality of your work.
NTPEP has an Asphalt Stripping Test that tests whether or not an asphalt release agent (ARA) strips the asphalt cement from the aggregate. Of course, diesel fuel does not pass this test.
It’s best to use a non-stripping ARA like PavePro Blue and PavePro’s BADASS to ensure that the quality of your project is preserved and not destroyed by a product that is supposed to make your job easier.
Long-Term Pavement Disintegration
Another surefire way to destroy the integrity of your asphalt pavement is diesel fuel that gets left over in the mix after being laid. Diesel fuel will continue to disintegrate the asphalt mat weeks to months after laying it.
Once the mix is laid, the leftover diesel fuel continues to penetrate deep into the pavement, cutting into the bitumen and separating it from the aggregate causing crumbling, cracking, and shortening the overall lifespan of the asphalt.
The problem with diesel fuel occurs because it biodegrades in 1-2 months. 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.
Furthermore, due to the high flash point of PavePro, you use a significantly smaller amount of product for the same results, or even better. This means that within the asphalt mix, there will be less PavePro than there would be diesel fuel. And by weight, the amount of PavePro required to prevent the build-up is less than roughly 0.00001% of the total mix and will not compromise the integrity of the asphalt.
Diesel fuel takes 1-2 months to biodegrade and begins to slowly cut through the asphalt after a few days. PavePro takes less than 5 days and won’t affect the integrity of your pavement.
Danger & Combustibility
Diesel fuel at an asphalt plant is just asking for trouble. Heat and diesel fuel don’t mix well. At around 130-165°F, diesel fuel begins to flash and become a vapor. If any intense heat, sparks, or embers come into contact with those vapor fumes, they can instantaneously combust. This can be detrimental to the asphalt plant and has killed workers in the past.
Take a look at this story.
You can just google “Asphalt Plant Explosion” and look through the horror stories that plant operators have experienced.
A much safer option is PavePro which can be used throughout an asphalt plant as a release agent and asphalt remover. Its flash point over 400°F makes it a viable option for plants looking for a safer solution than diesel fuel.
The final reason asphalt plants don’t allow diesel to be used in the truck beds is the federal laws preventing them from used.
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, The Clean Water Act of 1972, and The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act all forbid 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.
Regardless of your opinions on the environment, the laws are laws, and contractors, DOTs and plants can’t recklessly ignore them.
Now, more than ever, asphalt plants across the country are requiring
purchase receipts of diesel fuel alternatives to get hot mix from the plant, and DOT inspectors are starting to crack down every day on contractors, shutting down jobs and fining companies.
I kid you not, we hear daily about companies getting fined for breaking the law by having diesel fuel in their sprayers.
The Solution: PavePro
There isn’t a reason that diesel fuel should be used over PavePro.
Not a single one.
PavePro has DOT-approved and qualified products, like Blue and BADASS, in every state in the USA, certified by NTPEP as non-stripping.
PavePro is 100% biodegradable so it does not affect the integrity of asphalt. Even our solvent products like PavePro Green can be used as a release agent in some places.
PavePro is non-flammable, non-combustible, and has a flash point well over 400°F which means it is the safest asphalt solution on the market.
And, of course, PavePro is legal to use.
But more importantly than all of that, PavePro works better than diesel fuel. Because its flash point is so high, it doesn’t evaporate away quickly under high heat. You can see 5 to 6 loads with one single application in a truck bed and more than 50 to 60 shovel loads before you see asphalt begin to build up.
There isn’t an asphalt release agent or asphalt remover on the market with that kind of power.