Americans Load Up on Firewood as Home-Heating Costs Skyrocket… Used Car Prices Explode To New Record…

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(Bloomberg) — Amid the inflation surge that’s rippled through the U.S. economy and touched thousands upon thousands of products, one of the more obscure items on the list is firewood.

It’s a fuel from earlier times, so niche an industry that no one appears to even try to track pricing on a national level.

Talk to firewood vendors in state after state, though, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: Sales are booming on the eve of winter, and prices are soaring.

At Firewood by Jerry in New River, Arizona, a cord of seasoned firewood — roughly 700 pieces or so — goes for $200 today. That’s up 33% from a year ago. At Zia Firewood in Albuquerque, the price is up 11% since the summer to $250. And at Standing Rock Farms in Stone Ridge, a bucolic, little town in the Hudson Valley that’s become popular with the Manhattan set, the best hardwoods now fetch $475 a cord, up 19% from last year.

After last week’s hot CPI print, the great inflation debate continues to dominate headlines. The Biden administration and Federal Reserve members have been insisting inflation is transitory. But new, used car data shows prices continue to soar, suggesting inflation is anything but transitory.

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Anyone shopping for a used car since the virus pandemic began has been hit with extraordinarily high prices as snarled supply chains and chip shortages crimp new car output, pushing consumers onto secondary markets.

The Manheim Index, the most recognized wholesale used-vehicle price index by financial and economic analysts, shows that used car prices rose 4.9% in the first 15 days of November compared to October. The overall index has jumped 44.9% from November 2020.

WASHINGTON — Central Appalachia coal prices at a 12-year high could give West Virginia a boost just as President Joe Biden needs to persuade its Sen. Joe Manchin to support a $2 trillion tax-and-spending package that includes climate-change measures.

Biden’s Build Back Better package now moves to the Senate after the House passed it on Friday. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, is at the center of negotiations for the proposal that includes spending on child and elder care, but also initiatives to reduce dependence on coal by investing in clean-energy technologies. Progressives want ambitious spending and environmental regulations to meet climate goals.

A recovery-driven surge in global demand for electricity could put Biden’s flagship legislation in a double vise, validating the importance of coal and natural gas as baseload fuels, but also contributing to the rising inflation that Manchin has said is a primary concern in passing another big government spending package.

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