Newly released federal inflation data show that prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in four decades, continuing the trend of soaring inflation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of inflation, which showed prices rose an additional 1.2% in March, part of an 8.5 percent spike in the past 12 months.
There are few more easily observable measures of the cost of everyday living than the price of gasoline at the pump. As has been widely reported, gas prices in the United States recently hit a seven-year high. The striking thing, however, is not just how high gas prices have gotten, but how fast and far they have risen.
Based on statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration—the statistical arm of the Department of Energy—weekly average retail prices for regular unleaded gasoline in the United States increased 94 percent in less than two years. Average gas prices rose from $1.77 per gallon during the week ending April 27, 2020, to $3.44 per gallon during the week ending February 7, 2022—nearly doubling in the process.
That was the largest percentage increase in gas prices within a two-year window since October of 2005, more than 16 years ago. In the election of 2006, Republicans—then the party in power—lost 30 House and six Senate seats, thereby losing control of both chambers, before losing the presidency two years later.
The prices of energy, crude and gasoline all increased in 2021 from 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Agency reports. Prices increased because of higher demand and a range of other factors.
By the end of 2021, commodities on the energy index traded 59% higher than they did on the first trading day last year on the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), the EIA reports.
GSCI is a commodity index that tracks the performance of global commodities markets. It’s a weighted average that’s updated every year. In 2021, the energy index comprised 54% of the GSCI, with the two crude oil benchmarks, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent, accounting for approximately 70% of the energy index. WTI crude oil accounts for the largest share of the overall GSCI of more than 21%.