In this Oct. 22, 2014, photo, workers perform final inspections on 2015 Ford Explorers on the assembly line at the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant in Chicago. The Labor Department reports on U.S. producer price inflation in December on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

In this Oct. 22, 2014, photo, workers perform final inspections on 2015 Ford Explorers on the assembly line at the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant in Chicago. The Labor Department reports on U.S. producer price inflation in December on Thursday, Jan. 15, ... 2015. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) (The Associated Press)

US wholesale prices drop 0.3 percent in December, driven down by big plunge in gas costs

Energy Associated Press

U.S. wholesale prices fell in December by the largest amount in more than three years, reflecting the biggest monthly decline in the cost of gasoline in six years.

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The Labor Department says its producer price index declined 0.3 percent in December, the biggest decline since a similar drop in October 2011. In November, wholesale prices dipped 0.2 percent.

Over the past year, prices at the wholesale level have risen 1.1 percent, putting the 2014 rise in wholesale prices slightly below the 1.2 percent increase seen in 2013.

Gas prices plunged 14.5 percent in December, the biggest decline since December 2008. Falling energy prices have pushed already low inflation even lower. Excluding food and energy, wholesale prices rose 0.3 percent last month and were up 2.1 percent for all of 2014.