Where are surging consumer prices hitting Americans the hardest?

Consumer prices increased by fastest pace in nearly four decades in November

American households are grappling with the fastest price increases in nearly four decades, with the cost of everything from cars to gasoline to food soaring in November, the Labor Department reported Friday. 

The consumer price index, which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents, jumped 6.8% from the year-ago period – the highest since June 1982. It toppled the previous month's high of 6.2%. From October to November, prices climbed 0.8%.

"November pricing data offered no relief for American households as energy and transportation costs continued to drive prices higher," said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM.

The jump in consumer prices is even more pronounced as Americans start planning for the holidays with travel, elaborate meals and presents.

Here's a closer look at where consumers are feeling the pinch on their wallets: 


Energy costs surged 7.5% in the span of the one-month period from October to November and 33.3% from last November, with cost increases widespread across the sector. 

Prices for gasoline (58.1%) and heating oil (34.3%) have soared over the past year, largely due to severely lopsided supply and demand: Americans are traveling more, but the supply side has not kept up with the demand.

A gallon of gas, on average, was $3.35 nationwide on Friday, according to AAA – up from $2.15 a year ago. In California, gas prices are well over $4 per gallon. 


Prices for natural gas and heating oil are also on the rise; the Energy Information Administration has predicted that Americans could spend up to 30% more on natural gas and 43% more on heating oil this winter.


It's no wonder that Americans have reported substantially higher grocery bills in recent months: Prices rose 0.5% in November from the previous month, and a whopping 6.8% from the year-ago period.

The increases were most pronounced for different meats, with staggering year-over-year increases for beef and veal (20.9%), bacon (21%), pork chops (12.7%), fish (8%) and chicken (9.2%).

Egg prices climbed 8% compared to last year, while coffee was up 7.5% and cereal was up 5.7%.


Used car prices increased again in November, jumping 3.35% from the previous month and 31.4% year-over-year. 

Rental cars, meanwhile, shot up a stunning 37.2% from last November.

Stickers on the windshield of a car for sale at a used car dealership (istock / iStock)

Appliances and household goods

The price of everyday goods that Americans have in their homes is also on the rise:

The Labor Department reported that prices for furniture (12%), bikes (9%), laundry equipment (9.2%), tools and other outdoor equipment (6.9%) all jumped in November from the previous year.