WASHINGTON – Higher energy costs helped fuel U.S. consumer prices in September, but overall inflation remains in check as it has for the past several years.
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The Labor Department says consumer prices increased 0.3 percent last month. Much of that rise stemmed from energy, housing and medical care commodities. Energy costs surged 2.9 percent in September as oil and gasoline prices rebounded from recent lows. Previous price declines still mean that gas costs 6.4 percent less than a year ago.
Core inflation, which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy, rose 0.1 percent.
Over the past 12 months, core inflation has increased 2.2 percent. But the entire consumer price index has risen at a gradual yearly pace of 1.5 percent, undershooting the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target for inflation.