The Influence of Rural Road Quality on Vehicle Operating Costs

Principal Investigator:

Jerry Fruin, Associate Professor, Applied Economics

Co-Investigator

Project Summary:

The purpose of this research is to determine the effect of the surface quality and composition of rural roads on the fuel consumption of passenger cars, trucks and other rural vehicles. The method will be to acquire and install an on-board dynamometer and associated computer. This will be used to measure the horsepower required while driving upon surfaces with different characteristics and compute the fuel requirements for each surface. This work will demonstrate whether the methodology is sound. If successful, we will be able to provide estimates of the increased fuel consumption and fuel costs that occur due to rough road surfaces on rural roads. This information can be used to make estimates of the cost savings possible from improving rural road surfaces both generally and for specific segments. The study will provide data that can be used to develop policies to establish desired levels of rural road surface maintenance, based on potential vehicle operating costs by county, township and state officials.

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Project Details: