By Guy Page
Vermonters know inflation is up. Way up. What’s going on?
Gasoline prices are way up. A year ago, an average gallon of Vermont regular unleaded cost $2.45. Today it costs $3.53, according to a recent Gas Buddy online report.
Heating fuel prices are way up. The gallon of heating oil that cost $1.91 on Jan. 27, 2021 cost $3.20 on Jan. 31, 2022, a Vermont report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.
Food prices are way up. Nationwide, food prices rose seven percent from January ‘21 to January ‘22 – including 12.5% for fish and meat. Vermonters are in the top three states for monthly grocery bills, according to online sources.
Used cars are up 40%, new cars up 12% from January to January, federal statistics say.
Firearms and ammunication prices both have skyrocketed due to increased demand and supply chain problems. Housing is not only far pricier in Vermont, it’s virtually unobtainable.
Overall, U.S. inflation is at 7.5%. Worse yet, no-one in power is predicting inflation will slow. The Biden administration recently said it hopes inflation will ease by the end of the year.
It is not lost on some observers that many of the very items deplored by left-leaning advocacy groups – fossil fuels, meat, single-occupant vehicles, and firearms – all have inflation rates higher than the average. Neither is it lost on fuel consumers in particular that President Biden shut down a major pipeline on his first day of office and fuel supply has been in decline ever since. His decisions are at least partly to blame.
And so Vermonters ask: why is inflation happening? Who’s to blame? And how can it be fixed? Will the solution come from market activity or government action? Big questions, with many answers. One thing is for sure: Vermonters are watching and waiting for state and federal government action that takes their cost-of-living concerns seriously.