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How inflation is impacting 4th of July weekend cookouts

An inflation gauge shows food costs alone climbed 1.2% in May.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The 4th of July festivities may look different this year as inflation has caused food and gas prices to soar. American consumers may want to rethink traditions of barbecues or travels this year to cut back on costs.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index shows that food costs climbed 1.2% in May, making the year-over-year gain 10.1%.

For all consumer items, the index rose 8.6% since May 2021 ⁠— the largest increase since December 1981.

While flipping burgers, sipping on cold drinks and munching on potato chips may sound like the perfect way to celebrate independence, price rises may hinder this.

A new survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation suggests Americans will pay an average cost of $69.68 for classic cookout foods like cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad and ice cream. 

This average cost to serve 10 people is up more than $10 from 2021, the survey read. Ground beef; boneless and skinless chicken breasts were hit the hardest by price rises.

Food aside, the July holiday may look different due to rising gas costs as well. 

The consumer price index reports a 16.9% increase in fuel costs in the month of May. 

While many Americans enjoy taking trips to the beach or to family and friends to celebrate the holiday, some may be looking at different options due to the cost to fill their car's tank. 

ABout 88% of Americans still plan to drive for holiday plans, according to a new survey by Cars.com, a car shopping marketplace. However, three-fourths say near record-high gas prices have caused them to rethink plans — either staying closer to home or splitting costs with friends.

Fireworks have also been impacted by inflation. The American Pyrotechnics Association reported that overall costs across the firework industry are up 35%. This is due to inflation hitting the firework industry, raising the cost of supplies, raw materials, shipping and transportation costs and even insurance.

While all of this may seem to damper the holiday spirit, there are a few things those who are celebrating can do to cut costs. 

Wells Fargo's July Fourth Food Inflation Report recommends buying shrimp and pork, which have seen smaller price rises than other proteins; nondairy ice cream; snacks like pretzels; seasonal berries and tomatoes. 

To save on gas, consider carpooling with friends and family or even staying in or close to home for festivities. 

Luckily, a lot is going on locally! The Tampa Bay area offers a number of nearby festivities that allow you to stay in the area to celebrate. 

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