Jan 23, 2023 - Business

Inflation cools, but not Bostonians' heat bills

Illustration of a dollar folded into an arrow, separating color blocks of green and gray, with elements of ballots behind it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Inflation began to slow in Boston through the fall of 2022, but rising fuel costs will likely make this winter pricey for New Englanders.

Driving the news: Prices in the Boston area increased only 0.6% in October and November of last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • That compares to the 1.7% increase in prices over the same period in 2021.
  • The national inflation rate dropped 0.1% in December, a 6.5% increase over the same period in 2021.

What they're saying: "Prices do appear to be moderating, but there are some idiosyncratic things about Massachusetts, or New England in general, that are going to mean it's an expensive winter for folks in the region," said Mark Melnik, director of economic and public policy research at the UMass Donahue Institute.

  • Melnik said prices for home heating fuel are up around 39% in Boston compared with 13% nationally.
Data: Instacart; Map: Axios Visuals

Meanwhile the general cost of living is still making it hard for most Americans to make ends meet.

  • For example, the nationwide egg price spike isn't hitting all areas the same.

Zoom in: People in Massachusetts are paying $5.20 on average for a dozen eggs, according to grocery delivery service Instacart.

  • That same dozen costs $5.84 in Maine, but only $4.91 in New Hampshire.
  • Florida has the highest egg costs of the lower 48 states at an average of $6.36. The cheapest are in Missouri at $4.24.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that inflation increased 1.7% (not 7%) in October and November 2021.


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