In the chart below we have calculated the cumulative daily price change of the major food and energy commodities in the CRB index (Corn, Soy, Wheat, Cattle, Hogs, Oil and Natural Gas) since the beginning of 2008. We then multiplied the changes by the annual per capita consumption of each item. While this method may oversimplify the actual costs, it provides a good idea of how changes in commodity prices have impacted consumers' wallets over the last 15 months. In July, when the price of oil and other key commodities were trading at record highs, the impact of rising prices was translating into an extra $4.77 per American per day versus the start of 2008.
Ever since then, however, commodities have crashed back down to earth, resulting in an effective rebate for consumers. As a result, even after the recent rebound in oil prices, the average American is saving $4.10 per day due to lower commodity prices. While this may not sound like much, multiplied out over a year, it works out to just under $1,500 per year per individual, and nearly $6,000 per year for a family of four.