Inflation Affected Cars More Than Anything Else In The U.S. In 2021

The cost of living is up but the cost of driving is up much, much more.

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Inflation affected car ownership and its related expenses more than other essential goods and services in the U.S. this year. Never mind that the inflation rate reportedly increased to 6.8 percent, the highest number in 40 years. And never mind that it’s hurting poor people the most. For now, let’s focus on the effects rising prices have had on anything car-related.

Go read this report from the Guardian and make a note of the disproportionate increases compared to last year. Of course, starting with the obvious one, gas:

  • Motor fuel: up by 58.0 percent
  • Car and truck rentals: up by 37.2 percent
  • Used cars and trucks: up by 31.4 percent
  • New cars and trucks: up by 11.1 percent
  • Motor vehicle parts and equipment: up by 10.2 percent
  • Motor vehicle insurance: up by 5.7 percent
  • Motor vehicle maintenance and repair: up by 4.9 percent
  • Motor vehicle fees: up by 1.5 percent

Even electric cars saw a bump, as the cost of electricity went up by 6.5 percent.

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The rest of the rising costs in the U.S. are due to the higher prices of energy, housing and food, according to the report. The overall cost of food increased by 6.1 percent, while housing costs increased by 3.8 percent.

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And as owning and operating cars gets more expensive, poor households feel the brunt more than wealthy ones, per the Guardian report:

On a basic level, lower-income households don’t earn enough money to even pay for the essentials: housing, transportation, food and healthcare. So when the price of something like gasoline increases by 58%, households have to make difficult choices about what to cut out.

[...]

Skyrocketing fuel prices have had an outsized impact on low-income people who use cars to get to work.

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About the only transportation cost that saw a decrease was air travel, which was down by 3.7 percent. Once again, emphasizing that those with the money to spend made out mostly alright.

Also, I should mention that the increase in housing costs saw “the largest 12-month increase since 2007.” I mention it because the housing market bubble is still fresh on my mind more than a decade later, and the used car market is looking scarily similar right now.

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Image for article titled Inflation Affected Cars More Than Anything Else In The U.S. In 2021
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)