Alabama Consumers Pinched by Rising Fuel, Food Prices

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Gasoline prices in Alabama rose above $3 a gallon this week as higher costs for food and mortgages also hit consumers in the state.

UAB retailing expert Bob Robicheaux said consumers are getting hit on many fronts that drive down their confidence in the economy.

Eggs and milk have shown big increases at supermarkets. A survey by the Alabama Farmers Federation found the price of a dozen eggs jumped 36 cents, while the average cost of milk increased again this month.

Mortgage rates across the nation took a sharp jump this week. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose nearly a half point to 6.37 percent. Only a month ago, the average was 5.57 percent.

Gasoline prices jumped because crude oil futures traded at more than $100 a barrel this week.

Robicheaux said he worries whether rising household expenses will negate the expected economic benefit of federal rebate checks expected to begin arriving in May.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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