Prices High For Weekend Cookouts?

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Knoxville (WVLT) - You can expect high gas prices as you travel this Memorial Day weekend. AAA predicts an average of more than $3 a gallon, but those prices are affecting you in more ways than one this holiday.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel explains.

Would you believe your Memorial Day picnic could suffer? The push for alternative fuels, like ethanol, have driven corn prices to an all time high, meaning any byproducts of corn are going up in price as well.

Flipping burgers on the grill this Memorial Day weekend could cost you a little extra, and believe it or not, it all boils down to this: an ear of corn.
According to the Tennessee Corn Growers Association, U.S. corn prices rose 10 to 20 cents in just a few days, producing a one-to-three week high.

So how does that affect meat, milk, and vegetables? Think gas prices and trucking products from one state to another.

"We carry a wide range of local products," said Aaron McIntosh from the Three Rivers Market.

But you can avoid some of the extra cost, at all costs, by shopping local. Take Three Rivers Market for example.

"If the farmer can only drive ten miles to get to this store here, it's only pennies in gas compared to driving, trucking stuff from Atlanta which is a major distribution center," McIntosh said.

Corn costs are also pushing up prices on other products, like ketchup, because it's made with corn syrup, and beef and poultry, because animals feed on corn grains. In fact, many local dairy farmers, who feed their cows a corn grain mixture, are feeling the pain.

"The supply has gone down, and the demand has gotten off balance, now there's more demand than production so that means the prices are going up," said Bob Shipley from the Dairy Farmers of America.

Back at Three Rivers, they're boasting about their organic selections, which means:

"A lot of our products are independent of corn syrup based industries," McIntosh said.

And that means when corn costs drive the price of gas and groceries up, you aren't paying the extra price.

While the increase in products' prices isn't a huge spike and only adds up to a few cents, but in a time where gas pass that three-dollar-a-gallon mark, any bit of savings helps.

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