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These 5 Products Are Driving Inflation Down

Eggs, gas among goods and services seeing steepest drops, according to latest federal price report

spinner image display of freshly laid eggs on a poultry farm
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For consumers, the return of high inflation in 2021 was about as welcome as a new COVID-19 variant. Gasoline hit an all-time high of $5.02 a gallon in June 2022; a dozen eggs sold for nearly $5 in January 2023. The government’s main gauge of inflation, the consumer price index (CPI), which increased by less than 2 percent a year on average through the 2010s, jumped up 9.1 percent for the 12 months ended June 2022.

Inflation, however, cooled to a 3.1 percent increase in the 12 months ended November 2023, closing in on the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent inflation. And, because the CPI tracks hundreds of items, some areas rose or fell more than others. Let’s take a look at five products and services that have seen big price drops in the past 12 months.

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This is a big category because most human endeavors require energy. In November alone, the price of energy fell 2.3 percent; it’s down 5.4 percent for the past 12 months. The decline was led by fuel oil, down 19.3 percent the past 12 months, followed by gasoline, which fell 7 percent. A gallon of unleaded gas now costs an average $3.13 a gallon, according to AAA.

All of the energy market was riled by the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and it remains volatile. Shortly after the COVID pandemic hit, energy prices collapsed to the point where, one day in April 2020, some traders paid buyers to take oil off their hands. By March 2022, thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, oil prices rose above $105 a barrel.

“Yukon Cornelius knows that Bumbles bounce, and evidently, so do gas prices,” says Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, referring to the crusty prospector character in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “Daily gas prices will likely move back and forth for the next month or so.”


Only the increase in gas prices sparked more outrage than the big increase in egg prices. A massive avian flu outbreak killed 4.6 million chickens in 2023, sending egg prices soaring.

Egg prices peaked in January but have fallen by more than half since then, to an average $2.14 per dozen. But the bird flu is still around, and it’s spreading as wild birds migrate south. About 1.2 million chickens were slaughtered in November at an Iowa farm, according to the Associated Press.

Cheaper eggs are the best news in the food sector, where prices for many products remain stubbornly high. Poultry prices fell 0.9 percent in November but are still 1 percent higher than they were a year ago. Similarly, beef and veal prices fell 0.3 percent in November, but they are still 8.7 percent more expensive than they were a year ago.

Airline fares and travel expenses

An airplane needs lots of fuel to get from point A to point B. It also needs a trained crew to fly it safely and to fix it when it needs repairs. As we mentioned earlier, fuel costs soared during the pandemic but have come down. Employment costs for airlines, however, remain high.

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Nevertheless, airline fares dropped 0.4 percent in November and are down 12.1 percent the past 12 months. Other good news for travelers: Hotel prices are up just 0.9 percent the past 12 months.


Looking for a smartphone? It’s 14 percent cheaper, on average, than it was 12 months ago, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Similarly, computers and smart home assistants are down 4.6 percent year over year. Software is down 8.1 percent, and wireless service costs 2.8 percent less than it did 12 months ago.

If you’ve bought a smartphone lately, you may be raising an eyebrow over the BLS data. The agency does, in fact, have a twist in how it values technology. 

Twenty years ago, smartphones were about as large as a brick and as smart as one, too. Today, your smartphone can fit in your pocket and replace your camera, your calculator and your laptop. The BLS adjusts its measurement of technology by factoring in increases in computing speed, data storage and telecommunications ability. Your new iPhone may have cost more than your last one, the BLS argues, but it can do lots more.


During the pandemic, global supply lines got more tangled than that box of old computer cords you’ve got in the closet — and, as a result, consumers paid more for washing machines, dryers and other appliances. Fortunately, most of the kinks in the supply chain have been sorted out.

Prices for major appliances — think ovens, refrigerators and washing machines — have fallen 10.6 percent the past 12 months. Smoother-running supply chains are one reason. And in 2024, tax breaks for energy-efficient appliances will kick in. Eligible taxpayers could save up to $840 on an electric oven, for example, or an energy-efficient dryer. You can also get tax breaks on installation and electrical work associated with buying new appliances.

The IRS appliance rebates will be available to households with income of up to 150 percent of the median income for their area (meaning half of local households earn more and half earn less). Fannie Mae has an interactive tool you can use to look up the median income in your area. 

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