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Virginia families feeling the hurt of higher gas prices, grocery costs

Central Va. families feeling the hurt of higher gas prices, grocery costs
Posted at 4:21 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-13 16:26:50-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Plenty of families in Central Virginia have noticed, from the gas pumps to the grocery shelves, that prices continue to soar.

Emily Toalson filled up her SUV at the Exxon on Patterson Avenue to embark on a three-and-a-half-hour drive on Friday. She paid $3.29 a gallon.

“You definitely do think twice when you get in the car and make sure you make the most of every trip,” said Toalson. “It hurts. But we just need to think about it and think about how we are spending money in different ways.”

The Labor Department revealed inflation has hit a 30-year high, marking the biggest year-over-year surge since November 1990.

Used car prices are up 26.4% for the year. Energy prices, like gasoline, are up 30% over last year. Groceries like meat, poultry, fish and eggs are also up nearly 12% since 2020.

“We are trying to buy stuff for Thanksgiving and we’re like, let's go now so we can make sure we get everything we want,” Lacey Sacra said.

Marlem Louis, a junior at the University of Richmond, said he’s also witnessed a rise in prices at the grocery store.

“I have to be a little bit more cautious about the amount of items I buy and the type of things,” he explained. “I make sure I buy not as good as quality and get cheaper items.”

VCU Supply Chain Professor Jeff Smith called the situation an expected consequence of the pandemic.

“The retail federation is actually prediction the best retail year they’ve ever had. More goods are being purchased with less available. Supply and demand mean we have to pay more for those that are available,” he stated.

Smith blamed a rise in demand meeting a shortage of raw materials and supply chain bottlenecks.

He warned that these issues hurt the low- or fixed-income families the hardest.

“If you retired 10 years ago the last 10 years you have made a dollar more, maybe a small increase but it’s a relative dollar less because of with prices going up and inflationary aspects,” Smith stated. “Your money goes less far than it used to go so you have less disposable or discretionary income than you ever had now your fixed income is even worse for you.”

Smith said consumers could see some relief in the new year.

“I think as we move into the new year I envision by March, April we are kind of at least back to normal-ish,” Smith responded.