Fourth of July cookout takes a bigger bite out of wallets

Whether staying at home to host family and friends or heading out on a summer road trip, Americans will find the Fourth of July will take a bigger bite out of their wallets this year.

A survey of cookout costs by the American Farm Bureau Federation finds the overall cost of a party for 10 up about 5 percent over last year, to $58.72. What's boosting that cost? Mostly meat prices. With a historically low cattle herd nationwide pushing hamburgers higher, and a drop in the number of hog farmers, pushing up the price of pork. In addition to 13 percent increases for both the cost of two pounds of ground round hamburger meat, and four pounds of spare ribs in the Farm Bureau tally, dairy products also climbed -- up 14 percent for a pound of cheese and almost 8 percent for chocolate milk.

Also higher ahead of the holiday: gas prices. According to AAA, drivers will pay the highest Fourth of July prices at the pump since 2008 and an average of 20 cents more per gallon than last year. That's largely due to market fears over the violence in Iraq.

Still, Americans seem ready to celebrate. In a survey by the National Retail Federation, more than 70 percent of consumers said higher gas prices won't curtail their holiday spending on cookouts, barbecues and more, expected to reach $6.2 billion.

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