By Casey Harper | The Center Square
Inflation continued to soar in February, making a range of goods and services even more expensive for Americans, according to newly released federal inflation data.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday reported that the Consumer Price index, a major marker of inflation, rose 7.9% in the previous 12 months.
“The 12-month increase has been steadily rising and is now the largest since the period ending January 1982,” BLS said. “The all items less food and energy index rose 6.4 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982. The energy index rose 25.6 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 7.9 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending July 1981.”
Those price hikes have hit food, gasoline and housing particularly hard, areas that affect all Americans.
“Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” BLS said. “The gasoline index rose 6.6 percent in February and accounted for almost a third of the all items monthly increase; other energy component indexes were mixed. The food index rose 1.0 percent as the food at home index rose 1.4 percent; both were the largest monthly increases since April 2020.”
The report comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s ban on Russian oil imports. The effect of that decision was not included in the February data but will likely be reflected in the data for next month.
Currently, the national average gas price according to AAA has hit a record high of $4.32, a major spike from the average of $2.82 at the same time last year.
Biden has pointed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a key driver of gas price increases. Republicans point out the energy cost rise has been ongoing for months.
“Democrats want you to believe gas prices are only spiking because of the Russian oil ban,” Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said. “But the fact is prices have been climbing since the day President Biden was sworn in.”