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Gas Prices Keep Inflation at Highest Level Since 2009

Soaring gasoline prices drove the consumer price index up 0.6 percent in September, matching the August gain which was the largest increase since June 2009, the Labor Department announced today.

Gas prices remain stubbornly near their September highs, posing a peril to President Obama’s reelection.┬áConsumers are particularly sensitive to paying more to fill up the car and are constantly reminded of the hardship as they pass gasoline stations all day long.

The growth in the price of gasoline is threatening consumers’ spending power, as hourly wages adjusted for inflation fell 0.3 percent in September after dropping 0.6 percent in August, Bloomberg reported today.

A gallon of gas now averages 3.82 across the nation, nearly 50 cents higher than in July. Gas prices rose seven percent in September and nine percent in August.

There is strong historical evidence to suggest that gasoline prices figure prominently in voters’ choices in a presidential election, whether they realize it or not, .

According to a White House Dossier analysis of data from the Department of Energy, in every election but one, stretching all the way back to 1976, if the price of gasoline was higher on Election Day than four years before, the incumbent president or the candidate of his Party seeking to succeed him lost.

Rising gas prices may also provide ammunition to Gov. Mitt Romney as he charges that Obama has failed to focus sufficiently on developing fossil fuel resources, including nixing of the Keystone Pipeline project.

Obama in 2008 suggested he was OK with rising gas prices as a means of pushing Americans toward use of alternative energy.

Outside of gas prices, the CPI was relatively stable, and economists are not expecting huge jumps in the future, although some worry that massive bond buying by the Federal Reserve could put pressure on prices to rise.

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13 Responses to Gas Prices Keep Inflation at Highest Level Since 2009

  1. Take the ridiculous gas prices (“under my plan, energy prices will necessarily skyrocket”), and food prices (I know that they are not included in CPI) most of us are just hanging on. I’m reduced to looking for marked down meat (you know, the meat that’s starting to turn grey) and meat that’s on sale. We fired Carter and will do the same for obama. As Clint said; “it’s OK to let him go”

    • My wife and I are fortunate in that we started raising animals (rabbits and chickens) for food a little while back. It was a little up front, but we’re more than making up for it now.

    • Same here, Just2old. Roast beef for Sunday dinners is much less frequent. The price of beef is so expensive we’ve had to cut back. When energy prices skyrocket so does the price of every consumer product…

  2. Just as the BLS hides the real unemployment numbers, so does the CPI. Food and energy are not included. A couple of years back, the talk was about $5.00 gas – if we have $5.00 gas, Obama is a dead duck. Well, it’s here, at least in CA. Regular unleaded – $4.99.

    Just noticed that my market has a hidden cache of day-old bread. While shopping, I noticed a small crowd gathering in the back of the market next to the employee-only door. Out of curiosity I wandered over to see what was happening. There was a large baker’s rack filled with day-old (or more) bread and assorted bakery items. A sign of the times, I guess.

  3. Here in CALIFORNIA we are paying $4.69 for premium, and $4.49 for
    regular. We are retired so do not go a lot of places, as in going to work. However, we are terribly concerned for the people who are not retired, and they have to pay and pay and pay.

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