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Gas spike drives US consumer prices up 0.7 percent

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A spike in gas prices drove a measure of U.S. consumer costs up in February by the most in more than three years. But outside the gain in fuel, inflation was mostly modest.

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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A spike in gas prices drove a measure of U.S. consumer costs up in February by the most in more than three years. But outside the gain in fuel, inflation was mostly modest.

The Labor Department says consumer prices increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent last month from January, the biggest rise since June 2009. Still, three-fourths of the increase reflected a 9.1 percent surge in gas prices. Gas prices had fallen for the previous four months. Food prices increased just 0.1 percent.

For the 12 months that ended in February, prices increased 2.0 percent. That's in line with the Federal Reserve's inflation target.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core inflation rose just 0.2 percent in February. Over the past 12 months, core prices have risen just 2 percent.

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