Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Get ready for even higher bills. This week, several major companies say they’re hiking prices to make up for the rising cost of gas.
Adam May reports you’re about to feel the impact.
Brace yourself the next time you head to supermarket. Grocery shopping is getting more expensive, and gas is getting the blame.
Beef and pork prices are expected to rise 6-8 percent this year, fruits and vegetables up 5 percent, cereals and grains up more than 4 percent. Others products from shampoo to toilet paper are climbing, too.
“Ridiculous,” said one consumer. That’s the feeling among many now stuck paying at least $4 a gallon for gas.
“It kills my budget; it soaks up a lot of my money,” said a Maryland driver.
And even more frustrating for drivers: Major oil companies announce billions in record-breaking profits.
“They are just ripping us off and they’re making money off of us,” said a Maryland driver.
That’s why some Democrats are joining the president calling on Congress to end big oil subsidies–arguing repealing their tax breaks would save Americans 4 billion dollars each year.
“Big oil is taking us to the cleaners every single day,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California. “We have to stand up to them.”
But many opponents and energy experts argue oil companies would simply pass on their loss to customers at the pump.
“Oil companies I don’t think are colluding to keep the prices up; they’re doing business,” said Mark Bernstein, USC Energy Institute. “And then there is this whole other set of factors who push the price up because they are buying future oil and they are worried whether oil will be there, and all those things drive the price of oil up.”
And those prices could go higher.
“We did see demand go up slightly last week, which we attribute slightly probably to the Easter holiday. It will be interesting to see what impact Memorial Day travel has,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.
With no end sight, many personal budgets are busting.
“Just try to cut back on everything you don’t need,” said one driver. “Just get the necessities and stuff that’s important.”
The U.S. Commerce Department says economic growth slowed in the first three months of this year while unemployment benefit requests climbed again last week.