Gas prices in the Bay Area soared sky-high in September, according to a new government report released Wednesday. This is a taboo hint that inflation continues to haunt the region.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday that unleaded gasoline prices in the Bay Area rose a whopping 35.2% for the year ending in September. The increase is based on a federal agency price index.
A federal report analysis by the news organization shows that gasoline prices rose 36.4% in 2021.
On Wednesday, the government did not release headline inflation in the Bay Area. The Federal Labor Agency issues a Bay Area consumer price report every two months. The next comprehensive Bay Area inflation report is slated for November.
The current surge in gasoline prices is not only a result of comparisons with severely undervalued gas prices for much of 2020 and early 2021.
The collapse of economic activity and driving of vehicles triggered a sharp drop in gasoline prices in the Bay Area in 2020.
In 2021, gasoline prices began to rise due to increased economic activity and car travel. But the modest growth in early 2021 has turned into a prolonged spike that could fuel widespread inflation.
Some experts point out that it should come as no surprise that gas prices in 2021 will be higher than in 2020, as prices plummeted last year due to the coronavirus.
But the same argument cannot be made when comparing 2021 to 2019. 2019 is considered relevant because it was the last full year that the economy was healthy and not plagued by coronavirus-related illnesses.
Gasoline prices in the Bay Area in 2021 are much higher than gas prices published in similar months in 2019.
Bay Area gas prices in September were 20.2% higher than in September 2019. The gasoline price index in August was 22.6% higher than in August 2019. The July index showed a two-year increase of 16.1%.
According to an analysis of the employment agency’s price index, the average gas price in the Bay Area this year is the highest since 2013.
On the only good news in the current report on gas prices from the federal government, the 35.2% annual growth rate in September was not as dramatic as the annual pace for some of the previous months in 2021.
The annual increase in gasoline prices was 36.9% in August, 38.4% in July, 41.6% in June and 46.3% in May. May represents the highest annual growth rate of any month in 2021.