Driven by rising fuel costs, prices up in New England

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The U.S. Labor Department says prices throughout the Northeast, including Vermont, have risen 3.9 percent in the last year, driven by rising fuel costs.

Steve Reed, an economist at the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, says in general, prices for food, medical care and energy have jumped in recent years.

In the year ending April 30, the only drop was in apparel prices, which fell by 1.6 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data for mid-sized Northeastern cities.

Energy prices, which include gas and household fuels, rose 16.8 percent during that time, causing a ripple effect.

Gasoline prices alone rose about 22 percent while grocery prices jumped 5.7 percent, the most in one year since 1990.

Jim Harrison, president of the Vermont Grocers Association, said higher diesel costs have driven up trucking costs causing a rise in the price of food.

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