Figure 11

Mass flows associated with private automobiles in the United States, 1988 (million metric tons). Calculated by the authors from various sources, including International Energy Agency (1991), Bureau of Mines (1988), and Ecoplan International (1992).


bThirty-three percent of total road/highway expenditure is for maintenance and repair. Materials use per dollar is equal for new construction and for maintenance and repair. Fifty percent of all road/highway depreciation is attributable to automobile use.

cTotal estimated materials used for road/highway construction, repair, and maintenance: bitumen, 16 MMT: Portland cement, 10 MMT; steel, 35 MMT; slag, 15 MMT; sand and gravel, 600 MMT; and crushed stone, 840 MMT.


It may be interesting to summarize our results by waste category as well as by industry. Overburden moved by mining, mostly stripping, amounted to over 6,800 MMT in 1988. By contrast, topsoil loss in agriculture was on the order of 1,500 MMT. (In addition, the construction industry probably moves comparable amounts of topsoil.) Mineral concentration activities, mostly by froth flotation, produced waste (tailings) on the order of 900 MMT (600.6 MMT metals, 140.7 MMT nonmetals, 47 MMT coal cleaning, 57 MMT drilling wastes, 57.2 MMT

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement