A former executive for a large highway and heavy construction company has created an app that predicts the price of liquid asphalt for up to 18 months to help contractors bidding on projects.
Brian Lawrence developed The Asphalt App, which is based on a proprietary algorithm that incorporates daily closing prices of a variety of energy products when making its predictions. Lawrence is the owner, president and CEO of Asphalt Unlimited. He recently retired from CW Matthews Contracting based in Georgia, where he was a senior vice president. He has also served as chief operating officer for Bright Star Energy (Liquid AsphaltPurchasing) for 13 years.
He says he has purchased more than 2 million tons of liquid asphalt on a wholesale and retail basis, produced more than 260,000 tons of polymer modified asphalt and has bid more than 7,000 asphalt projects.
The values produced by the app are a retail (truck rack) projection and are also tailored to specific geographic areas in the 48 contiguous United States, the company says. The prices are given in ranges and are suggestive of what is a reasonable value to possibly include in a bid. The app is subscription based, and all annual subscribers can receive private asphalt pricing consultation with Lawrence, the company says.
The app pulls daily closing prices from the New York Mercantile Exchange. The asphalt projections mirror the coker values of asphalt.
Lawrence said he has backtested the app’s predictions against 13 years of published coker values and the result was a near perfect positive correlation.
“The algorithm never predicted a value below the published value,” he says. “To me, that fact along with the high degree of correlation (0.988041), provides a lot of confidence when either producing a financial outcome or predicting a future price, whether up or down.”
To predict a price range, the user uses the app’s slider to select the time period and then taps on the geographic region. The data on the app is changed once a day when the previous day’s market closing prices are downloaded.
The company’s website notes that “energy prices have fluctuated wildly over the past few months, both up and down. Asphalt prices move much slower, typically month to month, but the app will show you the trend and where things are heading.”
The Asphalt App can be downloaded at the Apple App Store and at Google Play for Android users.