Fourth of July supplies: Prices on these items are going up

U.S.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Independence Day is just around the corner, and it will undoubtedly look a lot different than last year for many families across the United States.

One thing that hasn’t changed though: Experts are still predicting price increases on some items this summer, and Fourth of July supplies are no exception.

So whether you’re traveling to see the family on the holiday weekend, throwing a backyard barbecue, or planning to shoot off some fireworks, you’ll likely be affected somehow.

Gas prices

If you’re planning to hit the road this holiday weekend, you’re not alone. After many people stayed home and limited visits with family in 2020, AAA estimates nearly 44 million Americans will travel by vehicle from July 1-5, and another 3.5 million will take to the skies.

AAA says if it all pans out, this will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, behind only 2019, and a nearly 40% increase from 2020.

But with more people traveling that usually means you’re paying more at the pump.

The national average gas price during this holiday weekend is expected to be about $3.11 per gallon. That’s 43% higher than this time last year and about 2% higher than Memorial Day weekend, according to a GasBuddy analysis.

At $4.28, California has the most expensive average gas price, as of June 30, followed by Hawaii at $4.01. At just $2.74, Mississippi has the cheapest average gas price.

Americans saw gas prices spike in March and again in mid-May, due to increasing demand and the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, but the steady increase slowed down recently.

GasBuddy says that was short lived, though. With the Fourth of July approaching, hurricane season not far away and consumer demand holding steady, drivers can expect these higher gas prices to stick around for the second half of the summer.

Fireworks

If you haven’t purchased your fireworks yet, be prepared for some sticker shock.

Personal fireworks sales in 2020 surged to record levels, according to Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, and it looks like 2021 sales are showing similar momentum. The only problem: Demand is high, but thanks to the pandemic, the supply is low this Fourth of July.

Many companies are pointing to international supply and shipping issues as the source of the problem.

With fewer fireworks available, prices have gone up and options might be more limited.

“Let’s just pretend it’s $10; it will be like $15 or $16 this year,” Christian Jones, president of Pat Riots Fireworks, told NewsNation affiliate WDAF.

Experts are advising customers to buy their fireworks early. If you’re looking for something specific, it might not be smart to wait until July 4.

Swimming pool chlorine

If you own a swimming pool, you’ve probably already noticed this one this summer. There’s been a chlorine shortage nationwide.

There’s been an increase in demand after more people bought pools during the pandemic. Then, on top of that, there was a chemical fire at a Louisiana facility that knocked out one of the country’s main chlorine manufacturers.

Chlorine is a necessity for swimming pools since it kills any germs or diseases that might be floating around.

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Cookout foods

Some good news for anyone planning to grill up some hotdogs and hamburgers this weekend!

Your Fourth of July cookout should cost a bit less this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. The agency said the average cost of a cookout for 10 people is about $59.50 — less than $6 per person. That’s down 16 cents from 2020 but up 62 cents from 2019.

The Farm Bureau looked at the price of burgers, chicken breasts, potato salad, potato chips, cookies and more for its 2021 survey. Strawberries had the largest year-to-year price increase, up 22% from last year.

Retail prices for beef and pork products are slightly more complicated, but still not as high as they were last year.

“Beef and pork processing plant disruptions that occurred in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been resolved, leading to lower retail ground beef and pork chop prices in 2021 compared to 2020,” Farm Bureau economist Veronica Nigh said.

“However, consumers looking a bit farther back to compare prices are seeing higher prices for ground beef, pork chops and chicken breasts compared to pre-pandemic (2019) prices. That’s due to continued strong demand for American-grown beef and pork from both U.S. and international consumers.”

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