Annual inflation unexpectedly declined to 4.9% last month, according to the April Consumer Price Index report, released Wednesday. Many of the goods that Americans struggled to afford last year are becoming more affordable.
Gas, for instance, costs 12% less than it did a year ago. Car rentals and meat products also saw steep declines from a year ago.
However, prices are still high for many goods and services.
Here are some of the notable price hikes Americans are confronting:
Costing almost 24% more than last year, margarine earned the top prize for the biggest annual increase last month.
Vegetable oil, a crucial ingredient in margarine, is in tighter supply.
Argentina, the world’s largest soybean-producing country is experiencing a drought. Indonesia, the largest palm-oil-producing country, suspended many export permits until recently. The country did so to keep prices lower domestically due to production constraints stemming from La Niña weather conditions.
But there is a sliver of hope for the butter substitute: Prices were down 0.6% on a monthly basis in April.
Is your engine making a funny noise? Be prepared to pay top dollar to get it repaired.
The cost of motor vehicle repairs is up 20% for the year. This comes as more Americans are pushing off buying new cars and driving older models that require more costly and time-consuming repairs, according to a recent report by CarMD, a digital car diagnostic system.
The CarMD report found that the increase in repair costs isn’t coming from labor costs, which were down slightly last year. The company attributed that to more people self-servicing their cars and increased competition at auto repair shops.
The cost of sending your child to day care or preschool is up 7% compared to last year, the largest annual increase recorded, according to April’s CPI.
Child care centers are seeing increased demand after more workers are being called back to work in person. Yet many centers were forced to close during the pandemic when the economy shut down. That led to a decline in the number of child care workers available compared to before the pandemic.