Metro Weekly’s Guide to Metrocards, Dining, Parking, Transportation, Groceries

Food manufacturers will increase prices of some items by 3 percent this year, said Sarah Behnke, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

That’s the highest increase in seven years.

Food manufacturers are passing along the higher costs from the rising cost of oils, grains and cheese, she said.

Nationwide, cost increases at retail for groceries rose about 3 percent in the first half of the year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Metropolitan Washington is divided into two metropolitan areas, including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The Prince George’s County Council approved an ordinance Monday requiring that agricultural commodities sold for human consumption at 5 percent of the total cost of food be sourced locally. The legislation is similar to those in New York and New Jersey.

Metro expects the costs of food and drinking water to increase for its customers.

The Met Council also is closely watching the rising cost of energy, Behnke said. Metro expects per passenger gas, which now costs $2.07 a gallon, to increase to $2.50 a gallon or higher by the end of this year.

Metro also expects crude oil prices to increase to $90 a barrel, up from the $75 currently, or 45 percent over the past 12 months.

In July 2008, the last time crude oil was at the current level, Metro had to raise fare prices by 6 percent. Metro also raised fares a third time in August 2008.

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