Discussion paper

DP17763 A Broader Perspective on the Inflationary Effects of Energy Price Shocks

Consumers purchase energy in many forms. Sometimes energy goods are consumed directly, for instance, in the form of gasoline used to operate a vehicle, electricity to light a home, or natural gas to heat a home. At other times, the cost of energy is embodied in the prices of goods and services that consumers buy, say when purchasing an airline ticket or when buying online garden furniture made from plastic to be delivered by mail. Previous research has focused on quantifying the pass-through of the price of crude oil or the price of motor gasoline to U.S. inflation. Neither approach accounts for the fact that percent changes in refined product prices need not be proportionate to the percent change in the price of oil, that not all energy is derived from oil, and that the correlation of price shocks across energy markets is far from one. This paper develops a vector autoregressive model that quantifies the joint impact of shocks to several energy prices on headline and core CPI inflation. Our analysis confirms that focusing on gasoline price shocks alone will underestimate the inflationary pressures emanating from the energy sector, but not enough to overturn the conclusion that much of the observed increase in headline inflation in 2021 and 2022 reflected non-energy price shocks.F


Kilian, L and X Zhou (eds) (2022), “DP17763 A Broader Perspective on the Inflationary Effects of Energy Price Shocks”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 17763. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17763