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Price spike: Higher fuel prices test US economy

Surging energy costs are being felt across the US economy with varying effects. Some consumers are absorbing higher costs, while others are shifting behavior or cutting back.

Here’s a sampling of how the story is playing out in different sectors.

As he contends with surging fuel prices, truck driver Lamar Buckwalter sees signs all around that consumers are cutting back.

Demand for refrigerated pet food — a torrid business just three months ago — has virtually disappeared. Humans are also shifting their own diets, ordering less high-end meats like veal and crab cakes.

“People are starting to cut off the extras,” said Buckwalter, a third-generation trucker who lives in Pennsylvania. “They’re not buying filet mignon steak.”

The last time he fueled up, Buckwalter spent $5.79 a gallon for diesel, more than double the price from a year ago, a shift exacerbated by lower job rates as demand for trucking services cools.

Also read: US inflation…

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