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Research economist says war in Ukraine could cause grocery store, delivery prices to increase

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Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 7:15 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 7:40 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The average price for gasoline is now up over $4 per gallon in South Carolina, and if prices continue to soar, it may affect more than what you pay at the pump.

WIS spoke with several Midlands shoppers on Wednesday who said that spending more for gas and goods is a sacrifice they’re willing to make if it means punishing Russia for its actions in Ukraine. They worry, though, about how long this will last.

Joey Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina, said it’s hard to predict, but with the ongoing war in Ukraine and busy tourism season starting up soon, consumers should expect to see prices rise at gas stations, and elsewhere, for the next several months.

He said everything that South Carolinians rely on the transportation sector will go up in price. This could include grocery store items and Amazon deliveries.

“At the grocery store on average about five percent of the cost you pay for each item at the grocery store is actually due to transportation costs,” Von Nessen said. “So all of those are potentially to be affected by this ongoing war in Eastern Europe.”

Some shoppers are accepting this as a cost of war.

“We as Americans live here good and the people in Ukraine are suffering, women and children getting murdered for no reason,” Danella Brown, a shopper who lives in Columbia, said. “I think the United States should be willing to sacrifice a little in order to help the Ukrainian people.”

Hopkins resident Dorothy Sumter expressed a similar sentiment.

“I am willing to make sacrifices here with the economy and the increasing prices, but the concern is the duration of it,” she said. “Because even with the gas prices increasing, we’re already feeling the brunt of the groceries.”

Sumter lives on a fixed income, and said she’s already begun switching up her routine to get the most bang for her buck.

“Whenever I come out to do errands I try to do as many errands as I possibly can in that one day rather than making lots of trips because I do live out in the country.”

Evelyn Fields said she will be making adjustments at the grocery store.

“Some things you know you’ve always been accustomed to that you like buying, sometimes you’re going to have to make a sacrifice and not buy those things so that you can have money for other things,” she said.

Fields said her anxiety level about the current inflation situation is not very high. After living through the financial crisis of 2008, she said she has confidence that the economy will rebound.

“I have a lot of faith that things will turn out perfectly fine,” she said.

Since January 2021, the average price of food at the grocery store has already gone up 7.4 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

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