By Craig Erwin, Ph.D.
I just got hit with severe sticker shock. It cost me $33 for half a tank of gas. That bites. The average household is spending $276 more per month because inflation has quickly jumped from 2.1% to 7.5%. A couple of years ago oil demand fell sharply due to Covid-19, as factories and stores closed and employees stayed home and worked from home. Demand has bounced back too quickly for oil producers to handle. OPEC (a group of oil producing countries that try to control oil production and supply) is being pressured by the countries that consume the most oil, to increase production. Unfortunately, OPEC can’t even meet the quotas it set for member countries, let alone ramp up production. In the short run it is unlikely to be able to bolster supply much. We have already experienced the painful results of supply chain hiccups, as producers struggle to provide everything from chicken wings to cars to computers. Now it looks like we may be in for another rough year or two, as prices rise and shelves stay empty.
Have you found many empty shelves? Where? Are the prices you pay now much higher than a year ago? Which prices have risen the most?
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