We keep hearing about an asphalt shortage. Does this mean that asphalt is gaining ground in competition with concrete for paving markets?
Not at all. A recent article in Constructor magazine discusses several reasons for the shortage, including better market prices for the lower grade fuel oils which in consequence the refineries now tend to produce in preference to asphalt. Another major factor has been conversion of many industries from coal to oil under the pressure of the ecologists. Finally the unavailability of the Suez Canal has in effect reduced the capacity of the worldwide tanker fleet by about 50 percent. Constructor predicts that the asphalt shortage in the United States will last at least four or five years, and admits to seeing no real solution to the problem even within that period.