Computer chip shortage is why it’s hard to get PS5, new Xbox and why car prices are rising

What’s being proposed to prevent another shortage?

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is looking to use federal dollars as part of a solution.

DETROIT – If you’ve shopped for a new or used car recently you may have noticed that prices have increased.

You may have also noticed how hard it is to purchase the new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X -- with both gaming devices seemingly always out of stock and when they are in stock they go fast.

These things all have something in common: They’re caused by the computer chip shortage.

The shortage started in a surge in demand for personal computers and other electronics as workers and students shifted from being in the office and classroom to being at home during the COVID pandemic.

The shortage, and pandemic in general, forced many automakers to make cuts in production. Semiconductors are in short supply because of the strong demand and impacts from the U.S. trade war with China that started under former President Donald Trump, according to CNBC.

The COVID pandemic also had a major impact. When the pandemic first started, people were purchasing more PCs, monitors and other gear for remote work or learning. Then home entertainment gadgets like game consoles, TVs, smartphones and tablets starting selling fast. All those devices include a lot of chips.

What’s being proposed to avoid more chip shortages?

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is looking to use federal dollars as part of a solution.

The rules of supply and demand are decidedly at play. The computer chip shortage that was supposed to be wrapping up by now is likely to spill over into next year.

Stabenow went to the Ford test track in Dearborn to see the F-150 Lightning Electric pick up for herself. But also noticeable around the track were parked F-150s. They are built, but missing the vital semiconductors.

Most of the needed chips come from Asia but plant fires and shifts in demand caused an expansive backlog. Stabenow is introducing legislation in the Senate to funnel more than $50 billion toward chip production in the United States.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.