How to Calculate Asphalt Prices


Estimate the cost of asphalt by calculating the volume of asphalt required and the cost of the asphalt material at the time of construction. The two major cost drivers for asphalt materials are the cost of aggregate in the mix and the price of oil. The asphalt liquid is a byproduct of the oil refining industry. When the price of oil rises, typically the price of asphalt liquid also rises. Asphalt liquid now has more competition. Other industries compete against the construction industry for the byproduct. This competition affects the supply of asphalt liquid resulting in higher prices. Higher oil prices also affect asphalt prices by making excavation and crushing of aggregate more expensive.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring device
  • Calculator
  • Measure the asphalt pavement area. Take all measurements and calculate the area by multiplying the length by the width in feet for square or rectangular areas.

  • Convert the design thickness of the asphalt to feet. Divide the asphalt design thickness by 12.

  • Multiply the asphalt pavement area by the design thickness. The calculated result yields asphalt volume in cubic feet.

  • Multiply the cubic foot volume by 145 pound per cubic foot. The result of the calculation yields the overall weight in pounds.

  • Divide the overall weight by 2000. The calculation provides the estimated weight of asphalt in tons.

  • Multiply the total weight of asphalt by the current unit cost of asphalt to estimate the total asphalt price. The unit cost of asphalt varies depending on the price of oil which is between $85 and $150 per ton. Find the current asphalt price from CalTrans (California Department of Transportation). CalTrans indexes asphalt prices regularly. Asphalt prices can vary slightly based on location, but this index is very credible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Specifying better types of asphalt will cost more. Performance graded asphalt binders offer good results in a variety of weather conditions. A PG 76-22 asphalt theoretically performs well over a temperature range of 76 to -22 degree Celsius. The cost of this performance is an additional 10 percent.
  • Always specify the maximum amount of RAP (recycled asphalt pavement) allowed in the mix. Cap the maximum at 10 percent for better performing asphalt pavement.
  • In cold weather regions, asphalt paving should only be performed in air temperatures above 50 degrees F.

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