Higher Prices at the Pump, and at the Plate
The everyday cost of living, which has generally been down for the last year, swung higher in February, as energy prices snapped back.
Every month, the American Institute for Economic Research calculates the Everyday Price Index as a barometer for what Americans are spending on regular expenses. It uses the Consumer Price Index as a starting point, then strips out those expenses that are fixed and recurring.
In February, the EPI increased by 0.5 percent, compared to the 0.2 percent increase in the CPI. Over the last 12 months, the EPI has fallen by 2.6 percent, while the CPI has been flat.
Americans paid 5.1 percent more for gasoline in February, the first such increase in seven months. Despite a cold winter, natural gas heating prices were down, but heating oil prices were up.
As consumers showed more interest in eating out, restaurants raised their prices by 0.3 percent. But that was offset by a 0.1 percent decrease in prices at the grocery store, led by lower prices for daily products, fresh fruits and vegetables.
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