By Noah Rothstein
With Independence Day just around the corner, many Americans are facing price increases for holiday supplies. Whether you’re gathering, 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.
After Americans stayed home and limited visits with family in 2020, the American Automobile Association (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 said this could be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, behind 2019, and a nearly 40% increase from 2020.
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.
According to Ohio-based Phantom Fireworks, personal fireworks sales in 2020 surged to record levels, and it looks like 2021 sales are showing similar momentum. However, demand is high and supply is low this Independence Day.
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.
Additionally, 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 last summer that knocked out one of the country’s leading chlorine manufacturers.
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 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.