Price of food, gas on the rise

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In the U.S., much of the rise in the cost food comes from higher meat and dairy prices, due in part to tight cattle supplies after years of drought in states such as Texas and California, and rising milk demand from fast-growing Asian countries.

But prices also are higher for fruits, vegetables, sugar and beverages, according to government data.

Consumers can expect to see higher food prices up around 2.5 to 3.5 percent despite sharp decreases over the last year in the prices of grains, including corn, after a big U.S. harvest.

Greg Tison of the Jacksonville Farmers Market said its prices stay steady because it has local food instead of relying on other parts of the country.

"We're not hit with the same cost as the grocery stores are," Tison said. "They have a lot of overhead. I know a lot of them are struggling right now with the issues in California."

Food prices have gained 2.8 percent on average for the last 10 years, outpacing the increase in prices for all goods, which rose 2.4 percent.

"I just went to the grocery store the other day for my wife, and it's just ridiculous," resident Joe Merkley said. "It was $5 for a little jar of peanut butter."

The price of gas is also increasing.

"Good way to break the poor man," driver Nathan Delgado said.

Gas prices are the highest they've been since September. According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 3 cents in the last week to $3.52.

In Florida, it went from $3.46 to $3.52. In Georgia, the increase was 2 cents to $3.34.

In Jacksonville, the average was $3.49, up from $3.36 a month ago.

Drivers say paying for gas has become something they work into their budget.

"I have to set aside every week," one driver said.

Gas prices typically rise in the spring, and an AAA spokesman said it's expected to continue to increase for another 30 days.

"It's just ridiculous for prices to keep going up like this," Merkley said. "Has to do with world affairs and the situation we are in."

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