Prices of fuel, food increase as consumers bear the brunt of pandemic problems

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It feels like the price of everything is going up.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of fuel skyrocketed nearly 43% in the last year. Food is up nearly 5% and new car prices increased nearly 9%.

Patty Wroblewski, of Raleigh, said she noticed the higher gas prices.

"I really don't spend too much money, but it went a little bit higher for the past few weeks," Wroblewski said.

North Carolina State University supply chain expert Tim Kraft said prices could continue to rise.

"Inflation is, I mean, I think that's a real fear for a lot of people right now," said Kraft.

Shoppers are also finding some bare shelves.

"Some of the grains, lentils, I couldn't find in the aisle that I normally find them," Wroblewski said. "Some of the condiments are missing as well."

Harry Prince, of Raleigh, works for a company that stocks shelves at local stores like Target, Walmart and Walgreens. He also audits what's on the shelves.

"The shelves, even if they have stuff is very low on stock," Prince said. "They're usually, I'd say, anywhere from 10 to 30% stuff out of stock at any given time and it just doesn't really matter what department you're going into. It goes across the board. So, it's frustrating for a lot of shoppers, I'm sure, and there's still a manpower shortage too so that doesn't help."

Kraft said the bottleneck at the ports in California is making it difficult to get stuff to North Carolina. Plus, the ongoing labor shortage doesn't help. Kraft said it's the same story we've been seeing during the pandemic--disruptions in the supply chains.

"And that's causing product to be delayed and prices to be increased, because now, companies are having to pay more for their shipping and they're passing that cost on to consumers," Kraft said.

Kraft recommends shoppers prepare early, whether it's for Thanksgiving dinner or holiday gifts.

"Go ahead and get your orders in and go ahead and make all your purchases, the ones that you can, because waiting until the last minute is probably going to lead to a lot of missed items," Kraft said.

Kraft said the surge in demand is contributing to shortages and higher prices.

He said these supply chain disruptions will probably continue for the foreseeable future.

"I think all consumers should prepare themselves for delays, at least on some of the items that they're ordering online," Kraft said.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.