Climate, Culture

CPI driven by used car prices

CPI = consumer price index (aka, consumer inflation)

Last week’s CPI report had some interesting fodder for cultural and climate discussions. The key nugget I was looking for surfaced in The Heisenberg Report today. Heisenberg has put out several pieces on urban flight driven by C-19 and social unrest. The current post links back to the others.

Here’s the tidbit that caught my eye in the CPI update – not the food cost increases which everybody could see happening real time.

Quote: “The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent in August after rising 0.6 percent in July. The index for used cars and trucks increased 5.4 percent in August, its largest monthly increase since March 1969. The shelter index increased in August, rising 0.1 percent, with the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rising 0.1 percent.”

Bold is mine. With everybody holed up at home, who needs a used car … that was my original thinking. But then the ever astute Heisenberg made it simple enough for me to understand.

quote: “The August core-CPI print was heavily influenced by the rise in used car prices that we’re content to characterize as a residual of the pandemic”, BMO’s Ian Lyngen, Jon Hill, and Ben Jeffery said Friday. “A reluctance on the part of commuters to return to public transportation creates a set of new entrants into the preowned auto market, as does the rotation from urbanization to suburbanization”, they went on to say. And so, our post-pandemic dystopia continues to take shape. Ghostly, deserted business districts (where the best graffiti on plywood shopfronts is cut from its “canvas”, harvested monthly by opportunistic curators hoping to create a new genre of “collapse” art) are ring-fenced by high-density, low-income, “left-behind” communities, where the population lacks the wherewithal to flee the city.”

My bold … my, oh my … we can’t come up w/ a better idea than getting back in fossil-fuel pollution creating cars? Are we reverting back to only the rich can live where it’s safe? I really thought we were passed these points culturally, socially and economically. I was wrong.

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