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Higher oil prices could mean bumpier roads as asphalt costs are impacted

Asphalt is a petroleum product
Posted at 9:38 PM, Mar 28, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to disrupt the global oil market. While we saw a slight drop in gas prices in recent days, they remain near record highs.

It doesn’t just impact your cost to fill up. It could actually lead to bumpier roads.

“It is a perfect storm as far as road costs,” said Craig Bryson, the senior communications manager with the Road Commission in Michigan.

Bryson says inflation has already cost the commission between $10 million and $14 million as labor and fuel costs spike. If costs continue to increase, limited budgets may be able to accomplish less.

Plus, while the commission currently has contracts locked in for asphalt, prices are going up. The reason? Asphalt is made with petroleum.

“Those prices have started to surge dramatically,” said Dylan Taulbee, the general manager of R and R Asphalt.

R and R does commercial and municipal asphalt work, often building our roads. Taulbee says the company’s challenge is operating with locked-in contracts as costs increase. 

“We are very committed to our customer base and making sure we do what we say we are going to do for them,” Taulbee said. 

Industry-wide, he says the market is likely pushing prices up in the future. 

 “We just hope to make it up some other time,” Taulbee said. 

 Taulbee says his company is having meetings, looking for ways to operate more efficiently in the meantime. 

“We are all here to do a job and make sure Michiganders have a safe place to drive,” Taulbee said. 

This story was originally published by Kim Russell at WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan.