Gas price was $5.45 a gallon Wednesday in Santa Barbara County
By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Producer prices shot up 8.7% in August over the previous 12 months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index released Wednesday.
Month over month, the index declined 0.1% for the month from July.
The rise in other producer prices in August was largely offset by a decrease in the cost of gasoline, which has dropped from its record-high levels in recent weeks.
In Santa Barbara County, the average price of gas on Wednesday was $5.45 a gallon, down from $5.53 a gallon a month ago, according to the American Automobile Association. California, which has consistently seen the highest gas prices in the nation, was at $5.43 a gallon, up from $5.37 a gallon a month ago.
The national gas average on Wednesday was $3.70 a gallon, down from $3.96 a gallon a month ago.
“In August, over three-quarters of the decrease in prices for final demand goods is attributable to the index for gasoline, which fell 12.7%,” BLS said. “Prices for diesel fuel, jet fuel, chicken eggs, primary basic organic chemicals and home heating oil also declined. In contrast, the index for construction machinery and equipment increased 2.6%. Prices for beverages and beverage materials and for electric power also rose.”
Many services saw a significant cost increase.
“Forty percent of the increase in prices for final demand services can be attributed to margins for fuels and lubricants retailing, which rose 14.2 percent,” BLS said. “The indexes for securities brokerage, dealing, investment advice, and related services; loan services (partial); transportation of passengers (partial); portfolio management; and chemicals and allied products wholesaling also moved higher. In contrast, prices for truck transportation of freight decreased 1.9 percent. The indexes for guestroom rental and for food and alcohol retailing also fell.”
The news comes a day after the stock market plummeted following the release of consumer price data showing prices rose on a range of expenses, including food.
“Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the broad-based monthly all items increase,” BLS said. “These increases were mostly offset by a 10.6% decline in the gasoline index. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6% in August, a larger increase than in July.”
News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason contributed to this report.