Gas prices in the US have fallen almost every day since mid-June, slowly coming off record highs that tired consumers at the pump.
But other major expenses, including food and housing prices, continue to rise steadily, the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.
The average national gas price hit an all-time high of $5.01 per gallon on June 14. Every day since then, the US average has seen a slight decrease, marking 60 straight days of lower gasoline prices.
The annual inflation rate fell to 8.5 percent in July—down from 9.1 percent in June—thanks in part to falling gas prices. But federal data show that food and housing prices are rising at a steady rate.
In July, food prices at home rose by 1.3 percent, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Food costs rose 13.1 percent in July from a year earlier, “the largest 12-month increase since March 1979,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cost of shelter increased .5 percent in July, and housing prices are 5.7 percent more expensive than they were a year ago, according to the CPI.
In an interview with Newsweek On Friday, AAA spokesman Andrew Gross said a major contributor to lower gasoline prices was lower oil prices. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Gross noted, “the oil market has been freaking out,” with the price of oil rising above $120 a barrel. “And since that time, it’s been slowly moving downward,” Gross said.
To cope with higher gas prices, Americans are driving less, he said. “And that’s really reflected in the demand numbers, which means the number of people is increasing.” Gross noted that the Biden administration tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to release oil into the market in an effort to combat rising gas prices, which had little impact.
Gross said that while costs in other sectors have yet to come down, other commodities such as food are “indicators of a slowdown.”
“People have to remember that our country uses gasoline, particularly diesel gas … and so the prices that they’re seeing now, the price of fuel is already factored in and that’s a high price,” Gross said.
Victor Klar, an associate professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University, said in an interview. Newsweek Despite the rebound in gas prices, costs in other key sectors of the economy—food and housing—are rising, which can have a big impact on young families.
“Average prices are up, gasoline is down and some isolated other products and services are down, but it doesn’t look like things are getting significantly better anytime soon,” Claar said.
“If you look at the three categories that are the most brutal…housing and food and gasoline, they can potentially destroy young and working families,” he continued. “Those are the bills you can’t skip in a given month. You’ve got to feed your kids, you’ve got to drive to work, you’ve got to put gasoline in that car, and if you don’t want to get kicked out, you’ve got to make that rent payment.”
said Joan Wiener, assistant professor of economics at George Washington University. Newsweek Factors that cause fluctuations in gas prices, such as wars, “do not necessarily affect food prices, which are affected by things like weather, and hospitality services, which are affected by seasonal changes.”
“It’s good that the annualized rate of inflation fell last month, although it’s still up from recent levels. I’d say the combination of COVID and government stimulus payments make it difficult to gauge the direction of prices,” Weiner wrote. Email.
“We all hope that inflation will come down, but it may take some time to return to the level of 2-3 years ago,” he said.