Poor Road Quality Leading to Higher Gas Use

Commuters in Massachusetts communities with worse roads use more gas, with the costs disproportionately impacting low-income households.

1 minute read

February 15, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

CLose-up of pothole in asphalt road filled with water reflecting grey cloudy sky.

Christian Delbert / Adobe Stock

New research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst reveals that ‘environmental justice communities,’ defined by the state of Massachusetts as areas with low incomes and high percentages of minority groups, have poorer road quality, causing residents to use more fuel for their vehicles.

According to the study’s lead author Egemen Okte, “You need roads to go from point A to point B, and depending on what kind of road you live around, it will change your fuel consumption.”

“As for how this impacted fuel use, nearly all Massachusetts drivers use more than 3% excess fuel (compared to driving on perfect road conditions), and most drivers use 5 to 7% excess fuel, regardless of community status.” In EJ communities, 16 percent of commuters fell in the highest tier of excess gas use, “twice the rate of non-EJ commuters.”

Monday, February 12, 2024 in University of Massachusetts Amherst

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