A trip to the grocery store in the Morgantown metropolitan statistical area (MSA) has become more expensive in recent months. Items ranging from tuna to sweet peas have increased in cost, according to the latest Morgantown MSA Economic Monitor issued by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics.

On average, the price of groceries has been on the rise since the first quarter of 2007,said Amy Higginbotham, economist at the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER).However, while grocery items have been increasing in cost, the total cost of living in the area is still average for an urban area in the United States.

During the past year, the prices of grocery items have increased in the Morgantown area (see Table 1). The largest price increases over this time period have been for eggs, tuna, orange juice, peas and bananas.

According to ACCRA data, the total cost of 26 grocery items in the survey increased by approximately 5 percent from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2008,Higginbotham said.

Morgantown, however, has not been the only urban area experiencing increases in grocery prices. The average cost nationwide also increased by 5 percent, with the price of eggs increasing by the highest percent.

These price increases have been the result of various economic conditions such as rising demand for ethanol, increasing fuel costs and natural disasters,Higginbotham said.

The data comes from the ACCRA Cost of Living survey, which is compiled by the Council for Community and Economic Research, a quarterly comparison of the costs of 60 specific items in urban areas throughout the nation.

The items reflect a typical market basket of goods and services purchases by an upper-income household. These items are categorized into five types: grocery items, health care, transportation, housing, and miscellaneous goods and services.

The June edition of the Morgantown MSA Economic Monitor contains the full analysis of these trends. The Monitor is a semi-annual publication of the BBER .

Copies of the publication can be found athttp://www.bber.wvu.edu.

Information about the ACCRA Cost of Living Report can be found athttp://www.coli.org.