1. Car insurance
With so many Americans working from home and putting their vacation plans on hold, fewer people than usual are on the road. Fewer cars means fewer accidents.
Many car insurance companies are offering discounts as a result. Prices dropped by 8.9% in May and were down more than 14% from the same time last year. Some insurers are even offering rebates, like Geico’s 15% credit for its customers.
Even if your own bill has decreased, all of this competition means it’s a good idea to shop around and see what rates are available, now and into the future.
2. Fuel oil
The oil industry has been decimated by the pandemic. In turn, fuel oil — mainly used to heat buildings and power trucks, ships and some cars — has seen a major drop in price over the past few months.
The cost of fuel oil fell by another 6.3% in May, following plunges of 15.6% in April and 13.7% in March. Over the past 12 months, fuel oil prices have dropped a staggering 37.5.
However, as office buildings begin to reopen and restrictions on international shipping and transport begin to ease up, the cost of fuel oil should eventually start to level out.
Airports look nothing like they used to. International travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine periods and reduced flight schedules have all brought non-essential trips to a grinding halt.
The cost of airfare fell by 4.9% in May and decreased by almost 29% over the past year.
These low prices may not last for long, though. Some speculate that airfare will rise sharply once restrictions are eased, as people rush to take long-delayed trips and airlines grapple with distancing measures, like empty middle seats.
4. Car and truck rentals
Since most non-essential travel has been nixed during the pandemic, car and truck rentals have been down for three months straight.
In May, the price of renting a car or truck dipped by 3.5%, after falling more than 16% in April.
Americans have understandably been a bit wary during the lockdown about renting a vehicle that was recently used by a stranger. That fear could linger, but once the prospect of a restriction-free road trip is back on the table, prices may start to rebound.
Cars all over the country have spent months collecting dust in their garages, so Americans have been making significantly fewer trips to the pump.
Gas prices dropped 3.5% in May — which is actually somewhat encouraging, considering they took a 20.4% nosedive in April.
As states open back up, gasoline producers should be able to stop running on fumes. In the first week of June, the average price per gallon nationwide rallied above $2 for the first time in months.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that clothing sales have declined. Date nights are at a standstill, and most Americans have been wearing their ratty old sweatpants to work for months.
The cost of apparel fell by 2.3% in May, with women’s dresses, women’s underwear and men’s suits seeing the biggest drops in price.
This decrease in demand has made it hard for many retailers to survive. Chains like J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney have all filed for bankruptcy, and more big brands are expected to follow suit before the year is out.
7. Hotels and motels
It’s almost time for summer vacation, but nobody’s checking into resorts anytime soon. And with a virus on the loose, consumers are cautious about sleeping on sheets they haven’t washed themselves.
The cost of hotel and motel rooms was down by 1.5%, following April’s drastic 8.1% plunge.
Prices may rise as casinos and tourist destinations start reopening again. Some people will still have the jitters about staying in a motel, but it beats sleeping in your car.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that electricity consumption will sink by a record 5.7% this year as a result of business closures across the country.
The EIA says power costs this summer will be the lowest they’ve been since 2009.
In May, electricity prices dropped by 0.8%. Even though your personal AC bills might be going through the roof as the weather gets warmer, no one is paying to cool all those empty stores and office buildings.
9. Used cars and trucks
You might be eager to snap up a cheaper vehicle, but make sure you don’t get all gassed up with nowhere to go.
May’s price index saw April’s slide in auto sales continue. The low demand for used cars and trucks resulted in another 0.4% dip in this sector.
Remember, even though you’re getting a discount on the car, the insurance and the gas, you may not be able to enjoy it much for some time.
10. Prescription drugs
This sector has been a rollercoaster for the past few months. Americans swarmed drugstores in a frenzy at the start of the pandemic, but now that everyone’s all stocked up, the panic has died down.
Prescription drug prices dropped by 0.2% after a 0.6% increase in April.
All the folks avoiding medical facilities — fearing they might bump into a sick person — could also be contributing to this dip. While anti-anxiety drug use has spiked during the pandemic, plenty of people aren’t going to clinics to get checked for other concerns.
11. Cereals and bakery products
Quarantine baking has taken over the Internet as people are trying to come up with fun ways to pass the time during lockdown. Even so, the price of baked goods and baking supplies is declining.
Bakery products and cereal have fallen in price by 0.2% in the past month. What’s the reason? Perhaps people are becoming more health conscious and watching their carbs.
Then again, maybe not. If you’re working from home, you don’t need to rush with a muffin or bowl of cereal in the morning. You have all the time in the world to whip up some scrambled eggs and bacon.