CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Republicans and Democrats Thursday offered different takes on December’s consumer price index (CPI), which measures inflation, came out.

The report found that December’s overall annual inflation rate was 6.5%, which was down from November’s rate of 7.1%. The report also found that indicated prices fell 0.1% overall last month, but in November, prices rose by 0.1%.

Different Takes

In a press conference Thursday, President Joe Biden indicated the report was a positive sign.

“Today’s inflation numbers are good news, good news about our economy,” he said. “We have more work to do, but we’re on the right track. We’re seeing bright spots across the country where great things are happening.”

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito tweeted the following statement on the CPI:

6.5% inflation is simply too high. 2 years of poor economic policies under President Biden and his administration continue hurting Americans.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

What is a Healthy Rate of Inflation?

The Federal Reserve acknowledges that policymakers consider an acceptable inflation rate to be 2%, or a bit lower.

A Closer Look at Inflation

Multiple essential expenses had higher annual inflation rates than the overall inflation rate, including food at home at 11.8%, fuel oil at 41.5%, and Utility (piped) gas service at 19.3%.

Two commodities had negative overall annual inflation rates: Used cars and trucks at -8.8%, and all types of gasoline at -1.5%, signaling a decrease in price. Over the last several months, AAA reports have shown the drop in gas prices has been “fuelled” by decreasing demand and increasing supply.

Click here to see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ full Consumer Price Index.

Pew Research cites the annual rate of inflation in the United States hit 6.2%—the highest in more than three decades—in October 2021.

A press release from Sen. Moore Capito points to the following Federal Reserve data:

  • Since Biden took office: Prices have risen by 13.5 percent.
  • Energy prices have risen by 33.93 percent.
  • Electricity prices have risen by 21.30 percent.
  • Utility (piped gas) prices have risen by 47.31 percent.
  • Fuel oil prices have risen by 62.46 percent.
  • Gasoline prices have risen by 37.55 percent.
  • Grocery prices have risen by 18.63 percent.
  • Rent prices have risen by 11.86 percent.
  • Higher prices have cost families an additional $10,000.
  • Inflation has outpaced wage gains for 21 months in a row.

The research institute for payroll company ADP recently found that in West Virginia, annual pay increased by 6.1%, lower than even December’s annual rate of inflation.

A Look at the Gas and Used Vehicle Markets

Biden withdrew 180 million barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) last year in a bid to halt rising gasoline prices amid production cuts by OPEC and a ban on Russian oil imports following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last month, the Biden administration announced it would buy 3 million barrels of oil to begin to replenish the SPR.

According to Energy Information Administration data, the SPR’s stock has continued to decrease since then, with the reserve at 378,624 thousand barrels on Dec. 16,—the date of Biden’s announcement—and sitting at 371,580 thousand barrels on Jan. 12, the latest date that information is available. Those are the lowest levels since December 1983.

When Biden took office in January 2021, the SPR contained 638,085 thousand barrels.

Consumer Reports analyzed the cause behind dropping used car prices last month and noted that rising interest rates will likely negate the drop in prices for buyers who have to finance, meaning that they may end up paying more over the life of the loan. The outlet also noted that there was a historic used car price spike in 2021, and that while prices have come down since then, they have not hit “deal territory.”

Its report also suggested that buyers who are looking at vehicles that are three years old or newer consider buying a new vehicle instead, as the prices may be relatively close to a new vehicle’s, and a new car can qualify you for a lower interest rate.

This story was written using original reporting as well as reporting from the Associated Press.