PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Due to soaring egg prices, it might cost more to power an omelet than an automobile.
Data provided by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service shows that the average consumer price for a dozen large, white eggs in the U.S. was $3.73 in December. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gas in Oregon is currently $3.69. The national average for a gallon of gas is $3.39.
The national spike in egg prices is driven by a record bird flu outbreak that ravaged the poultry industry in 2022, killing more than 49 million birds across 46 states. The virus is estimated to have killed 10% of all egg-laying hens in America. Supply chain issues and rising feed costs are also impacting prices.
Asking prices for all egg sizes are estimated to fall next week as the demand continues to drop, the USDA’s latest market report shows.
“High consumer prices for shell eggs has caught the attention of the national media, raising consumer awareness and fueling a rising resistance,” the USDA said.
Egg inventories in the U.S. remain 23% below last year’s levels. The USDA said in its weekly report that many egg producers are using the drop in demand between December and the Easter holiday to rework their flocks to maintain peak efficiency.
USDA spokesperson Mike Stepien told KOIN 6 News that the industry will need more time to recover from the bird flu outbreak before prices can return to normal.
“Layers produce approximately 24 eggs per month, and layer depopulations continue to affect egg production in subsequent months — until depopulated facilities can be sanitized and restocked,” Stepien said. “Additionally, it takes between four to five months for a young layer to reach peak productivity.”