Lower Gasoline Prices Offset Higher Food Prices

Table 1. EPI expenditure categories and September 2015 weights
Trends in everyday prices versus the CPI

AIER’s Everyday Price Index (EPI) decreased 1 percent in September after decreasing 0.5 percent in August. Including apparel, the EPI decreased 0.5 percent in September.

In comparison to the EPI for September, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics decreased 0.2 percent on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis after decreasing 0.1 percent in August. AIER’s EPI is not seasonally adjusted.

Over the past 12 months the EPI has fallen 3.6 percent while the CPI has registered no change. The difference between the two is due to a drop in energy prices. The EPI assigns a greater weight to energy.

In September, a decline in energy prices offset an increase in food-at-home prices and food-away-from-home prices. Gasoline prices decreased 10.1 percent with regular-grade dropping 10.5 percent, mid-grade falling 9.1 percent, and premium declining 8.3 percent. Over the past 12 months gasoline prices have decreased 29.6 percent. Home energy prices also decreased in September with fuel oil declining 2.4 percent and gas utilities decreasing 1 percent.

Looking at food prices, food-at-home prices increased 0.3 percent in September. Food-at-home prices were led higher by fresh fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products which increased 1.9 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. Egg prices continued to climb, increasing 0.8 percent in September and 36.2 percent over the past 12 months. On the other hand, meat prices decreased 0.2 percent with both beef and seafood decreasing 0.6 percent.

Food-away-from-home prices increased 0.5 percent in September. Full service food-away-from-home prices increased 0.2 percent while limited service food-away-from-home increased 0.4 percent. Over the past 12 months full service food-away-from-home has increased 2.6 percent and limited service food-away-from-home has increased 3 percent.

Prices for personal-care services increased 0.4 percent and prices for personal-care products increased 0.3 percent. Within personal-care products, prices for cosmetics increased 0.4 percent and prices for hair, dental, and shaving increased 0.3 percent. Nonprescription drugs and vitamins decreased 0.1 percent and club membership dues for group exercise increased 0.3 percent. Prescription drugs decreased 0.2 percent in September but have increased 4.2 percent over the past 12 months.

To learn more about the methodology of the Everyday Price Index, go to, “What is the EPI?”

Table 1. EPI expenditure categories and September 2015 weights
Trends in everyday prices versus the CPI