Inflation Took Its Biggest Toll on These Items in 2022

You likely spent more on public transit, energy costs, and car repairs this year

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Inflation has been hitting everyone’s wallets hard, but public transportation, household energy, and car repairs were some of the categories that saw big price increases this year, according to a new analysis from The Balance. While the annual rate of inflation stands at 7.1%, many items far outpaced that rate, causing you to spend more.

Public transportation tops the list, jumping over 27% since the beginning of the year. The increase was mostly driven by higher costs in airfare, which were roughly 40% pricier compared to January. But not all transportation costs skyrocketed throughout 2022. Intercity transportation such as buses and subways saw fares jump just over 2% since the start of the year, meaning the cost of local commutes haven’t increased too much.

Key Takeaways

  • The annualized inflation rate is 7.1%, but prices for many items rose at a faster pace.
  • A 40% jump in airfare prices drove higher public transportation costs.
  • Household energy costs have risen about 19% this year.
  • The cost of food rose 12%, but eggs saw the biggest price spike at 55%.
  • Over the past three months, women’s outerwear and boy’s clothing have gotten cheaper.

Gas, Car Repairs, Energy, and Food Prices Rose in 2022

If you tried to avoid planes and trains by driving, you still felt inflation’s impact. Fuel costs have declined lately, but saw huge increases in February, March, May, and June. So far, the price of gas has risen more than 10% since January.

If your vehicle broke down, repair costs definitely took a toll. Fixing your car cost close to 21% more since the beginning of 2022. Car insurance was also on the list of items hardest hit by inflation this year, rising nearly 17%.

Energy costs are typically volatile and depend on seasonal changes. That said, fuel and utility costs have slammed wallets since January. Fuel and utilities have increased by close to 16%, driven largely by upticks in household energy, which costs almost 19% more now than at the start of the year. Electricity costs have risen by 16%.

The price of food rose more than 12% since January, but you’ve likely felt the pinch more with some items over others. While the price of groceries jumped 14% since the start of the year, egg prices increased almost 55%, and butter and margarine went up nearly 41%.

Note

The Labor Department’s “food” category includes things such as groceries, items you buy from restaurants or vending machines, and food bought at a school or workplace cafeteria.

Costs for Delivery, Pets, and Household Products Also Spiked

Though not a necessity, delivery services have also seen large price bumps, cutting into the budgets of households that got used to these services during the pandemic. Delivery costs increased 16% as many companies and restaurants, hammered by inflation and higher interest rates, passed those costs to consumers.

Anyone who bought a pet during the pandemic felt the sting of inflation, too. The cost of purchasing pets and pet products rose more than 15%, while pet food increased about 18% this year. Veterinary services spiked above 11%. It was an expensive year for animal companionship.

Household items also became more expensive, jumping almost 14% for things such as garbage bags, aluminum foil, and batteries. Cleaning supplies rose 12%.

Televisions, Used Cars, and Sports Tickets Saw Price Drops

Not all items cost you more this year, though.

Televisions in particular saw some of the biggest price drops since the start of 2022. Television prices sank over 18% as retailers, in hopes of lightening their inventory, offered discounts to entice shoppers. Used cars and trucks also dropped in price, declining close to 8%, while admissions to sporting events dropped nearly 7%. Major appliances also decreased in price, dropping 2% since the start of the year.

The Bottom Line

While there is no guarantee to where prices are headed in the future, The Balance analysis found that certain apparel items such as women’s jackets and other outerwear and boys' clothing were seeing the biggest price decelerations over the past three months. That makes those categories something for consumers to watch for potential discounts. Grocery items—particularly lettuce, eggs, and butter—saw some of the biggest price increases over the past three months, so shoppers might want to adjust their grocery lists.

Methodology

Inflation data is from the BLS Consumer Price Index. All figures are annualized for 2022 with index data for seasonally-adjusted items from December 2021 through November 2022. All items are national-level for all urban consumers (CPI-U). The largest price increases and decreases over the past three months were percent changes in index values from August 2022 to November 2022, the most recent month with CPI data at the time of writing.

Research and analysis by
Adrian Nesta
Adrian Nesta, Research Analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash
Adrian Nesta is a research analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash, the digital publisher that owns and operates The Balance. His work includes data collection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization for stories in the data journalism portfolio across every vertical at Dotdash.
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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. GasBuddy. “Gas Price Charts.”

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Table 2. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U. S. City Average, by Detailed Expenditure Category.”

  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Consumer Price Index: Appendix 2. Content of CPI Entry Level Items.”

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