Higher gas costs push up US consumer prices 0.2 pct. in February, first increase in 4 months

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

A modest rebound in gas costs and broad gains in other categories lifted consumer prices for the first time in four months, a sign inflation may be stabilizing.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in February after dropping 0.7 percent the previous month. January's decline was the biggest in six years.

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Gas prices have plummeted since June, dramatically lowering inflation. Consumer prices were unchanged in the 12 months ending in February, after slipping 0.1 percent in January from a year earlier. Yet excluding gas, prices have been more stable.

Outside food and energy, core prices also rose 0.2 percent last month. The cost of rents, clothes, new and used cars, and airfares all increased. Core prices have risen 1.7 percent in the past year.