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Toilet paper cost climbs along with oil price hikes

Date Posted: 2006-08-03

Oil is impacting the price of more than gasoline, as retailers announce rate hikes on airline tickets and even toilet paper.

Retailers say the higher oil prices mean higher cargo shipping costs for everything, including bulky toilet paper. Tissue prices are up 25%, and the essential paper product is absent from many supermarket shelves.

The toilet paper shortage is reminiscent of 1973, when the Arab oil embargo shook the world and triggered shortages of hundreds of products. Okinawa’s island status makes importing everything an expensive proposition. Supermarkets had sales on toilet paper in May and June, telling customers “beginning in July the costs will go up.” One supermarket chain operator says they didn’t anticipate, though, that consumers would buy up all the paper and hoard it.

A housewife says “I don’t use the car anymore, but walk to the supermarket to buy my toilet paper.”

Food and airline tickets are higher today than a month ago, fueled in part by the current Middle East crisis. Fears of increased violence in Lebanon, and disruption of Arab oil supplies, have pushed oil prices above $70 a barrel.

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