Consumer prices along the Wasatch Front rose 0.7 percent from April to May, twice the national average, according to Zions Bank’s latest index readings.
Transportation costs that went up 1.9 percent, to an average of $3.59 per gallon, were largely responsible for the increase. The national Consumer Price Index, released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, went up 0.3 percent in May.
Although the state’s monthly jump exceeded the national increase, Utah prices over the last 12 months are up 1.9 percent, while the U.S. rate is up 2.1 percent.
Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson said he expects gas prices to stabilize, if not go lower, in the next few months. "This should help ease the burden of rising prices consumers are experiencing in other areas," he added.
The price of food consumed at home rose 1.0 percent higher from April to May due to higher produce and dairy prices, partly from the California drought. Produce prices have gone up about 3 percent a month this year.
In other areas:
• Utility prices rose 4.8 percent as electricity providers switched consumers from cheaper winter rates to more expensive summer rates;
• Higher college tuition prices pushed education prices up 1.2 percent;
• Medical care costs jumped 0.9 percent behind higher prescription drug costs;
• Food eaten away from home went up 0.8 percent due to higher prices at some full-service restaurants;
• Housing prices fell 0.4 percent behind significantly lower hotel prices in May;
• Recreation prices fell 0.2 percent due to lower prices for pets and pet products; and
• Clothing costs were unchanged from April to May.
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