Inflation, gas prices, tariffs squeeze consumers
Published 7:55 am Thursday, August 2, 2018
The price of a can of Coca-Cola? Likely going up. A package of Pampers? That too. Plane tickets? They also may be more expensive. These items and more may cost more in the coming months as people start feeling the effects of higher fuel prices and raw-material costs as well as a range of tariffs.
Janette Hendricks said she has noticed higher prices on “just about everything” in the past three months or so. That’s put a little pressure on the recently retired nurse in Washington. So she goes shopping less often, “makes things stretch,” and she always shops for things on sale. She said she has also considered going back to work to have more cushion in the budget.
“The economy is doing great, so why is everyone doing so poorly?” she asked.
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The consumer price index, the government’s primary measure of inflation, rose 2.9 percent in June from a year earlier, the fastest increase in six years. Starbucks had said in June that it had raised the price of a regular drip coffee, and McDonald’s said it raised prices when it reported its latest sales figures.
“I cut back on a lot of things,” said Ada Caro of New York, sitting outside a Target in lower Manhattan. “I just buy the necessities.”
Procter & Gamble, one of the biggest makers of consumer products, had said Tuesday that Pampers prices will increase by an average of 4 percent in North America, while the Bounty, Charmin and Puffs brands could see 5 percent increases.
Gas prices have already surged more than 24 percent in the past year. Rent and other housing costs were up 3.4 percent in June compared to a year earlier, and auto insurance has jumped more than 7 percent.
Hendricks said she and her husband also drive far less as they’ve noticed gas prices on the rise. Halla Byer, 28, has also seen the cost of filling up her car go up. The recently unemployed Portland, Oregon, resident feels optimistic about opportunities in the city, but joked of higher prices “making broke people more broke.”