Inflation Hits Fastest Pace Since 1981, at 8.5% Through March 

Inflation hit 8.5 percent in the United States last month, the fastest 12-month pace since 1981, as a surge in gasoline prices tied to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 

added to sharp increases coming from the collision of strong demand and stubborn pandemic-related supply shortages. 

Fuel prices jumped to record levels across much of the nation and grocery costs soared, the Labor Department said Tuesday in its monthly report on the Consumer Price Index. 

The price pressures have been painful for American households, especially those that have lower incomes and devote a big share of their budgets to necessities. 

But the news was not uniformly bad: A measure that strips out volatile food and fuel prices decelerated slightly from February as used car prices swooned 

Economists and policymakers took that as a sign that inflation in goods might be starting to cool off after climbing at a breakneck pace for much of the past year. 

In fact, several economists said March may be a high-water mark for overall inflation. Price increases could begin abating in the coming months in part because gasoline prices have declined somewhat 

the national average for a gallon was $4.10 on Tuesday, according to AAA, down from a $4.33 peak in March. Some researchers also expect consumers to stop buying so many goods 

While inflation is up across much of the world as economies adjust to the pandemic and share supply-chain problems

That has handed Republicans a talking point, especially as prices overwhelm recent wage growth. 

Average hourly earnings were up 5.6 percent in March, according to the Labor Department. But adjusted for inflation, average pay was down 2.7 percent. 

“Americans’ paychecks are worthless and less each month,” Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, wrote on Twitter after the report. 

While the Federal Reserve has primary responsibility for controlling inflation, the administration has taken steps to combat price increases. Mr. Biden announced on Tuesday 

that a summertime ban on sales of higher-ethanol gasoline blends would be suspended this year, a move that White House officials said was aimed at lowering gas prices. 

The action followed the president’s decision last month to release one million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next six months