US consumer prices up because of higher gas costs

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? A sharp jump in gas prices drove a measure of US consumer costs up in February. But outside higher pump prices, inflation stayed mild.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in February, the largest increase in 10 months. Gas prices rose 6 percent to account for most of the gain.

Food prices were unchanged for the first time in 19 months. And excluding food and energy, so-called “core” prices rose just 0.1 percent.

In the past 12 months, consumer prices have risen 2.9 percent, the same year-over-year change as last month. Core prices have increased 2.2 percent over the same period. That’s lower than January’s year-over-year figure.

Mild inflation allows the Fed to maintain its low interest-rate policy.