Consumer Price Index: Will September’s Inflation Impact Winter Gas Prices?
Gasoline prices dropped by 4.9%, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index Summary, released Thursday, Oct. 13. The decline in gas prices partially offset increases in shelter, food, and medical care. Overall, consumer prices are up 8.2% compared to last September.
But what does this mean for prices at the pump going into the winter?
Considering that gas prices at the pump are still up by 18.2% for the year, and have been gradually increasing through October, the lower CPI for gas may not indicate the relief that drivers need or might be expecting. Compared to last year, the national average for gas at the pump is up by 63 cents, and certain regions, especially the West Coast and parts of the Midwest U.S., are still experiencing prices above $4. In California, gas is over $6 a gallon.
The falling gas prices shown in September occurred prior to OPEC+ cutting oil production by 2 million barrels. This move is likely to drive gas prices even higher. The winter holidays typically have people on the road for travel to see friends and family, so demand for gas may also increase in the coming months.
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Typically, a falling CPI would indicate a positive trend when the Fed is keeping a close eye on inflation. But when it comes to the CPI for gas, it’s highly unlikely the trend will continue based on gas prices today and in recent weeks, as tracked by AAA.
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