Fuel Efficiency Ratchets Up the Cost of Cars Gas prices may be falling, but cars that run on it are getting more expensive. Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued new standards that require automakers improve fuel efficiency, and the cost of upgraded engines alone is driving up prices. Toyota hiked prices on its mid-size Camry by roughly $175, and among best selling luxury vehicles, the 2013 Lexus CT 200h will be almost $3,000 more than the 2012 model.
Grocery Prices to Increase by as Much as 4% Meat, poultry, and dairy prices are all expected to rise thanks to this summer’s drought. Feed corn and grass were most effected, and the impact from their scarcity will soon be felt at the grocery store: price increases will hit right along with the new year. Since drought conditions forced farmers to reduce the size of their herds to combat higher feed costs, the price of beef and chicken is also slated to rise. The cost of dairy products, too, will be affected, as fewer and leaner cows produce less milk. Overall, the USDA expects food prices to rise 3.5% to 4% in 2013.
Grain Prices Affected by Drought Cereal and bakery product prices will rise too, as a result of the 2012 drought and lower wheat yields. Prices in this category began creeping up in October, and the USDA's Economic Research Service forecasts cereal and bakery product prices to rise 2.5% to 3.5% next year.
Health Care Premiums on the Rise Obamacare not withstanding, employee health care premiums are expected to rise an average of 6% in 2013. That amount will vary by state and type of plan, but overall, employers will face higher premiums and the increased cost will be passed along in part to employees.
High-End TVs and Home Theater Systems Hit New Highs While there will always be budget home entertainment options, folks who want the latest and greatest in this department will face some shockingly high price tags in 2013. Ultra HD TVs — which include an extremely high pixel density — sell for $20,000 to $25,000. High-end audio manufacturers too aren't holding back, as they incorporate premium features like Apple Airplay or standard DLNA that lets users control the entire system wirelessly. These features can drive up the cost of AV equipment in an instant.
Computers Push High-End Features As tablets continue to gain momentum in the consumer electronics realm, computers are returning to their original function as work-related machines — albeit more powerful and expensive. Apple's new notebooks with retina displays are among the highest-priced models out there, and Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8, is driving the adoption of premium touchscreen PCs.
Copper Will Be in Demand and Beer Prices Will Suffer Move over gold, it's copper's time to shine! Copper prices could be on the rise thanks to a move by the SEC to approve a fund to trade the metal. The fund could lead to scarcity and higher prices, as it did for gold. The problem is that copper is used in plenty of consumer items, including residential water pipes, wire, pots, and kettles, as well as equipment for brewing beer, distilling liquor, and making candy.