Today, the office building in which I work is having the last of its driveways and parking areas covered with new asphalt. There are few things that make people as happy as freshly laid asphalt. No more potholes, mud puddles, or bumps. Everywhere, it’s nice and smooth. We get about as happy as its possible to be, seeing and driving on smooth, freshly laid asphalt.

The economics of asphalt are a mystery. Outside the asphalt industry, few people, know just how much asphalt driveways, roads, and parking lots cost. Those who own asphalt companies seem to do very well. Their profit margins are unknown to those outside the business. Knowledge of the financial status current among asphalt companies is nil. “They’ve got to be doing well.” sums up most thoughts on the subject. At a nearby Country Club, fully half of the members are said to be in the asphalt business.

One may suppose that a great many driveways are put down for cash, further complicating financial analysis of asphalt.