Personal Finance

5 Things Getting Hammered by Inflation Right Now

Woman shocked by gas prices
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There is good news and bad news on the inflation front.

If you are a “glass half-full” person, you might note that prices in July did not explode higher.

Overall inflation rose by 0.5% during July, according to the latest Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. That’s well down from June’s 0.9% rise.

The “glass half-empty” crowd, however, will note that prices are still up sharply compared with last year, even if the trend might be slowing a tad. And prices for a few items are especially high.

Overall, the Consumer Price Index, which is a measure of inflation, rose 5.4% year over year in July. That matches the performance in June, which was the first time since August 2008 that the index rose that much over a 12-month period.

In fact, a handful of goods have seen their price index jump well over 20% since last July — and one has soared 73.5%. Following is a look at those items.

5. Hotels and motels

Man opening drapes
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Price index change from July 2020 to July 2021: 24.1%

Perhaps it is no surprise that as Americans have returned to travel, hotel and motel rooms have become hot commodities. The price index for this type of lodging has jumped 24.1% over the past 12 months.

With prices on the march, it is time to turn to tried-and-true tips for saving on this travel necessity. You will find such wisdom in:

4. Fuel oil and other fuels

Propane grill
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Price index change from July 2020 to July 2021: 30.9%

Fuel oil and other non-motor fuels heat up our homes and, this time of year, our grills. Increasingly, they also set fire to our wallets.

The price index for fuel oil specifically is up 39.1%, while the index for propane, kerosene and firewood has jumped 20.3%. Overall, this category has risen 30.9% in the past 12 months.

3. Used cars and trucks

Woman frowning in her car
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Price index change from July 2020 to July 2021: 41.7%

Want more evidence of how the pandemic has turned the world upside down? As we reported this July, some car models now cost more if you buy them used than if you buy a new version.

In fact, the price index for used cars and trucks has soared 41.7% since last July.

Not that this is a great time to buy new. The price index for new cars and trucks rose 6.4% over the past year. While that might sound like a relatively small increase, it is actually the largest 12-month increase for new vehicles since January 1982.

2. Gasoline

Sad man at gas pump
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Price index change from July 2020 to July 2021: 41.8%

The next time you go to fill ‘er up, expect to open your wallet and empty ‘er out. The price index for all types of gasoline collectively is racing higher, up 41.8% from a year ago at this time.

Perhaps even worse news: The hike is steepest for regular unleaded gas specifically, which is up 43%. Midgrade unleaded specifically is up 37.5%, and premium is up 34.6%.

Meanwhile, the price index for other motor fuels — which include diesel and alternative motor fuels like ethanol — rose 34.5% in the past 12 months.

For tips on making a tank of gas last longer, read, “8 Bad Driving Habits That Are Costing You.”

1. Car and truck rentals

Car rental company counters in an airport
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Price index change from July 2020 to July 2021: 73.5%

If you recently have tried to book a car rental in any city — from Honolulu to Hackensack, New Jersey — you likely emerged from the task with a bad case of sticker shock. In the past 12 months, the price index for car and truck rentals is up an astronomical 73.5%.

As we have explained, there are several reasons why the price of a rental has shot into the stratosphere. You can learn more about that in “Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items.”

So, there is no way around it: If you need to rent a car right now, you will pay dearly. Try to reduce the cost of other parts of your trip by using the tips in “18 Ways Save on Every Kind of Travel.”

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