WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (EYEWITNESS NEWS WBRE/WYOU) – Filling up your tank may not be as painful as it once was as gas prices have fallen below $4 a gallon for the first time since March.
But many budgets are still stretched thin due to rising costs of other goods and services.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports slight increases in the cost of food and shelter we offset by sharp decreases in gas prices this month.
But shoppers Eyewitness News spoke with at a local grocery store say they’re still feeling the burn in their wallets.
Shoppers filled Schiel’s Family Market on George Avenue in Wilkes-Barre Thursday.
“Everything’s just going up,” Renee Crawford of Wilkes-Barre said.
It’s where we found Crawford checking out the prices of some of the vegetables she buys on a regular basis.
“Oh my goodness, the price of groceries went sky-high, out of nowhere, like collard greens. They had collard greens over there for $2.99, now it’s $3.99. The potatoes were .89 cents, they want $1.99 a pound now… it’s ridiculous,” Crawford said.
Sticker shock that’s a common theme among consumers like John Brescia.
He’s relieved to see lower fuel prices but says it’s not making much of a difference amid high food, utility and rent prices.
“The gas prices are going down which is great, but with the food prices going up it’s just as bad. By buying the essentials you’re already spending like $150,” Brescia said.
Rajon Osborne is the assistant store manager. He says he has empathy for shoppers and shares their frustrations.
“When I come in and I see a sale, I actually am a little happy about it because I’m like alright, not only does it help them out, because people are buying more, but majority I’m mainly happy for the people because they don’t have to worry about breaking their bank or anything like that,” Osborne said.
Brescia sticks to buying generic brands which Osborne says have become increasingly popular during these costly times.
“I’ll be like, this one here is cheaper, do you want this one? and just see if they want it, because a lot of times they do. They’ll be like oh, thank you. And they’ll be really grateful for it,” Osborne said.
Experts say weather, war and demand will determine how much lower gas prices will go. And for everything else we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.