By CBSLA Staff

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Everyone is paying more for groceries, gas and rent, but inflation is hitting the Inland Empire is getting hit especially hard, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The inflation rate in San Bernardino and Riverside counties – collectively known as the Inland Empire – is 6.8%, four times higher than it was this time last year. According to Amar Mann of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IE has the highest rate of inflation in the nation.

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“Costs were lower there to begin with,” Mann said. “Take a look, for example, something like housing. Housing prices or rental prices, it’s been a popular area to move to because it was and to some extent is still cheaper than other places.”

Because prices for essential items like gas, housing, and food are all up, the cost of inflation is amplified by what’s required to live in the IE.

“Meat has been going up mainly because of higher corn and soybean prices, due to increased global demand. That’s what a steer or pigs eat,” he said. “But we’ve also seen higher costs for home energy, meaning electricity and natural gas prices. Both of those have been up more than 15% during the past year.”

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All of that is now being compounded by the need to get back on the road and go to work.

“The cost for a vehicle, a new or used vehicle, is also much higher than it was a year ago. In fact, a used car today costs about 24% more than it did a year ago,” Mann said. “The chip shortage, coupled with the return to work and increased demand for vehicles is causing inflation there.”

But the news is not all bleak. Mann urged consumers who have access to public transportation to their jobs to take advantage of that mode of transportation and hold off on buying a vehicle. Plus, there are some areas where prices have actually gone down, including fruits and vegetables, apparel, and recreation.

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“It may not be a bad time to freshen up the wardrobe or catch a movie,” he said.