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3 years since COVID-19; a look at prices from then and now

March 11, 2020, is when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Take a look at how prices for basic consumer items compare, then to now.

YORK, Pa. — March 11, 2020, is when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. 

Tomorrow will mark three years since workplaces, lives and the economy has changed in ways many have never seen before. Let’s take a look at how prices for basic consumer items look this year compared to 2020. 

Nationally and locally, we’ve seen the price of gas fluctuate. In Pennsylvania, the highest price residents paid for gas was $5.03 in June of 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, gas in 2020 was $2.39, which was 11 cents higher than the national average. AAA says the average cost of gas in Pennsylvania now is $3.63. 

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. and European Union sanctions prevented Russia’s ability to sell crude oil. President Joe Biden implemented a ban on Russian imports to the U.S., which spiked gas prices higher than ever. 

The car industry also suffered many challenges, from supply chain shortages to chip shortages to even buying and selling cars. Prices in 2020 for a used car were an average of $28,000. In Pennsylvania, the average cost for a used car is around $33,000 now.

Research from J.P. Morgan states, “While the COVID-19 pandemic was the initial catalyst for the chip shortage, structural factors are also part of the picture. The auto industry is changing, with a major shift towards automation and electric vehicles. These require yet more chips, causing further strain on an already stretched industry.”

Domestic flights, train riding and many means of transportation came to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average airfare was $292 for a domestic flight. Right now, the average is $393. 

Grocery prices have continued to fluctuate as we recover from the pandemic. Shortages of baby formula, pet food and other household items were in short supply. The average cost of a gallon of milk in 2020 was $3.31. On average in 2023, a gallon of milk cost $4. 

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