On the Fourth, no holiday from inflation

Freedom is never free, the old adage goes, and the hot dogs, fireworks, fuel and other products seminal to the traditional July Fourth experience aren’t either.

This summer, Americans hitting the highway and grocery stores will feel the burn of inflation, which has increased prices almost everywhere. With U.S. consumer inflation reaching its highest level in more than four decades, shoppers may feel like the only thing being liberated this Independence Day is cash from wallets and purses.

Here’s how much more the July Fourth holiday costs this year, says the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which compares May 2022 prices to May 2021.

Food

Credit: Vino Wong / AJC

Credit: Vino Wong / AJC

Higher meat prices are searing fans of the backyard BBQ. Hot dogs are up 10.4%, ground beef 12.6% and chicken almost 20%. Condiments (ketchup, mustard and their allies) are up about 10%. In a metro Atlanta grocery store last week, an AJC shopper paid $5.87 for a pound of hot dogs, $6.64 for a pound of ground beef and $19.61 for two pounds of baby back ribs. Potato chips and similar snacks are up 14%, soft drinks 13.2%.

Travel

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Everyone, including the estimated 1.4 Georgians planning July 4 road trips, knows the price at the pump is up (49%), but so too is air travel (37.8%) and a hotel room (22%). The good news? Fuel prices have dipped lately in the Atlanta area to $4.42 per gallon on average.

Fireworks

Credit: Cynthia Monaghan

Credit: Cynthia Monaghan

Neighbors may make less noise this holiday weekend thanks to supply chain problems and an estimated 35% increase in fireworks prices, says the American Pyrotechnics Association, which cites higher costs for raw materials (20%) and overseas shipping (350%).

Beverages (adult)

The news isn’t all grim. An afternoon cold brew will set consumers back only 4.5% more than last summer. The hike in the price of liquor (1.4%) is less spirited, while wine tips the scale at 1.8%.