Price rises for energy, petrol and food are all contributing to the unprecedented rise in the cost of living, which saw the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) hit the highest level since the ONS’s current records began in the 1980s.
The ONS calculates inflation by measuring the price of a basket of goods and services a typical consumer purchases. Items are weighted depending on their importance and the amount we spend on them.
The CPI has risen rapidly in recent months, from 6.2% in February to 7% in March then 9% in April, before reaching the current level of 9.1%.
It means on average the cost of living was 9.1% higher in May 2022 compared to May 2021 – although there have been warnings that lower-income families, who spend a bigger chunk of their income on essentials like energy and food rather than luxuries, are facing even steeper inflation.
But which types of products are consumers facing the highest rates of inflation for?
We’ve analysed the ONS figures to find the 20 specific goods and services that saw the biggest price rises last month.
Liquid fuels: up 122.6%
Energy items dominate the top of the inflation rankings in May.
Worst affected was liquid fuels, which includes domestic heating and lighting oils.
Prices have risen astronomically in the last year, with May’s inflation at 122.6% – more than 13 times higher than inflation as a whole.
NationalWorld has previously looked at the vulnerability of the 1.5m UK households living off grid and who are reliant on heating oil.
Natural gas and town gas: up 98.5%
Inflation for natural gas and town gas stood at 98.5%, meaning it cost almost double what it did in May 2021.
The majority of UK homes use natural gas to heat their homes. It is also used for cooking.
Andrew Forsey, director of charity Feeding Britain, says he is seriously concerned families are being priced out not just of buying food, but of preparing it too - you can watch NationalWorld’s full interview with him about price rises in UK supermarkets here.
Electricity: up 53.5%
Electricity prices have also surged over the last year, with prices 53.5% higher in May 2022 compared to May 2021.
This is linked to gas inflation, as gas is also used to generate electricity.
Diesel: up 37.2%
Motorists with diesel vehicles have seen prices at the pumps increase by 37.2% in the year to May.
The price of fuel has been affected by rising oil prices, and the war in Ukraine.
Petrol: up 30.4%
Petrol prices were not far behind diesel, with inflation at 30.4%.
NationalWorld’s motoring specialist has some tips on how to cut your fuel costs and improve efficiency.
Hire of garages, parking spaces and personal transport equipment: up 27.3%
Motorists are also being clobbered by parking price rises, with prices for garages, parking spaces and the hire of personal transport equipment up by 27.3%.
Personal transport equipment includes vehicles that do not come with a driver – car rentals, rather than taxis.
Margarine and other vegetable fats: up 26%
Spreads like margarine, and other vegetable fats such as peanut butter, have seen higher inflation than any other food item, at 26% in May.
This does not include butter.
Garden furniture: up 25.5%
Making the most of the summer weather will cost you a lot more than it did last year, with the price of garden furniture up by 25.5%.
That was almost twice as high as the rate of inflation for furniture and furnishings as a whole, which stood at 14.7%.
Holiday centres, camping sites, youth hostels and similar accommodations services: up 23.8%
Prices for these accommodation services were up by 23.8% year-on-year.
Hotels are in their own category.
House contents insurance: up 23.8%
Prices for home contents insurance were up by 23.8%.
Second hand cars: up 23.4%
Prices for second hand cars have been inflated for a while now, with the CPI standing at 23.4% in May – although that has come down from a peak of 31 in March.
NationalWorld’s motoring expert has taken a look at why prices have risen and when consumers are likely to notice a drop.
Passenger transport by air: up 21.8%
Not only are holidaymakers facing unprecedented disruption to their travel at airports across the UK, they are paying more for the privilege.
Prices in May were 21.8% higher than a year ago. This includes domestic and international flights, as well as helicopter travel.
Other floor coverings: up 21%
Any floor covering that is not carpets and rugs are captured in this category, Examples include vinyl and linoleum.
Prices were up by 21% on average. This does not include the price of getting them fitted by a tradesperson.
Low-fat milk: up 19.4%
Low-fat milk includes semi-skimmed and skimmed milk as well as ultra-pasteurized and UHT milk.
Prices were up by 19.4% year-on-year.
NationalWorld has reported on how 155,000 families in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are missing out on money from the NHS to help them buy cow’s milk for their children, or to help them through their pregnancy.
Mineral or spring waters: up 18.3%
The price of buying mineral or spring water was 18.3% higher in May compared to a year ago.
Repair and hire of clothing: up 18.3%
Hiring clothes or getting items darned, mended, altered or otherwise repaired would have cost you on average 18.3% more this May than last,
This does not include repairing footwear, which is its own category, nor does it include the cost of the raw materials like thread and needles
Olive oil: up 18%
Olive oil prices, like margarine and vegetable fats, have endued sustained inflation for months now, hitting 18% in May.
This may be due to increased demand due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on the availability of sunflower oil and palm oil are more common substitutes.
Price rises for olive oil predate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Heaters and air conditions: up 17.3%
Buying a heater, air conditioner or related items like humidifiers will have cost you on average 17.3% more this May than the last.
Solid fuels: up 16.6%
Prices for solid fuels like coal may not have increased as dramatically as for liquid fuels, but consumers still faced price rises of 16.6% in May.
Firewood, charcoal, peat, coke and other similar items are also included in the solid fuels category.
Household furniture: up 16.4%
Prices have not risen by as much as for garden furniture, but furniture for the home is still 16.4% more expensive on average than a year ago.