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Corrosion Costs & Preventive Strategies Study


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The two methods used in this study to estimate the cost of corrosion to the United States are based on: (1) the cost of corrosion control methods and services, and (2) corrosion costs of specific industry sectors. Past studies have indicated that the second method is more likely to incorporate the majority of the major corrosion-related costs and the first method is likely to miss the significant cost of corrosion management, the cost for direct services related to the owner/operator, and the cost of loss of capital due to corrosion.

Method 1 Corrosion Control Methods and Services

With this method, the annual direct cost of corrosion was estimated by adding the cost of corrosion control methods and services. The corrosion control methods that were considered include protective organic and metallic coatings, corrosion-resistant alloys, corrosion inhibitors, polymers, anodes, cathodic protection, and corrosion control and monitoring equipment.

Other contributors to the total annual direct cost that were reviewed in this report are contract services (i.e., non-owner/operator services), corrosion research and development, and education and training.

Method 2 Industry Sector Analysis

In this study, the U.S. economy was divided into five sector categories and 26 sectors, as follows:

  • Infrastructure:

    • Highway Bridges

    • Gas and Liquid Transmission Pipelines

    • Waterways and Ports

    • Hazardous Materials Storage

    • Airports

    • Railroads

  • Utilities:

    • Gas Distribution

    • Drinking Water and Sewer Systems

    • Electrical Utilities

    • Telecommunications

  • Transportation:

    • Motor Vehicles

    • Ships

    • Aircraft

    • Railroad Cars

    • Hazardous Materials Transport

  • Production and Manufacturing:

    • Oil and Gas Exploration and Production

    • Mining

    • Petroleum Refining

    • Chemical, Petrochemical, and Pharmaceutical

    • Pulp and Paper

    • Agricultural

    • Food Processing

    • Electronics

    • Home Appliances

  • Government:

The cost of corrosion was estimated for each of the above categories. When summed, the total annual cost of corrosion for the industry sectors examined was $137.9 billion. Not all industries were examined in this study; therefore, the total economic impact on the U.S. economy would naturally be greater than the $137.9 billion given here.

Download the whole report (776 pages) or one its many appendices (full details)