Driving over rough, pothole-ridden roads is never good for one’s vehicle. For drivers in the Birmingham area, these rough roads take a particularly immense toll on vehicles — with the city’s roads costing drivers hundreds of dollars in automotive repair work each year, a new report has found.
According to data from TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C., a stunning 43% of Birmingham’s roads are now in poor condition. That puts the Birmingham area at the 20th spot in terms of highest percentage of “poor” roads in the country.
Birmingham drivers, who pay an average of $784 in extra car maintenance, now live in the 17th most costly city in the country for repairs stemming from bad roads.
“There’s no question that poor road conditions, rough roads, roads that are in bad shape can cause and do cause damage to vehicles every day,” said Clay Ingram, a spokesman for AAA Alabama.
As the state waits on federal funding for much-needed road repairs, Jefferson County has been working hard at paving its roads. AL.com reported that the county had paved more than 100 miles of roads at the beginning of June, up from just 10 miles at that time in 2014.
It’s hardly surprising that Birmingham drivers are spending more on car repairs, given that recent Federal Highway Association data has found a notable increase in the time many drivers spend in their vehicles.
Yet it’s not all bad news for Alabama motorists. Across the state, gas prices are plummeting, with Birmingham drivers paying just $2.33 per gallon — the lowest gas prices in the U.S., AL.com reported. Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said it’s highly likely that gas prices will continue their precipitous drop through the fall, eventually reaching as low as $1.50 per gallon in Alabama.
Compared to the national average of $2.82 per gallon, that’s at least one thing for Birmingham drivers to be happy about.