Energy prices increased 12.8% during the 12 months to March, following a 10.6% advance in February. Gasoline prices increased 18.9% in March, following a 15.7% gain in the 12 months to February. Prices for fuel oil and other fuels increased 31.3%, while electricity prices rose 4.3%.
Excluding energy, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.4% in the 12 months to March, following a 1.4% increase in February.
Prices for food purchased from stores rose 3.7% in March, the largest year-over-year advance since August 2009. This increase follows a 2.0% gain in February.
Other items that contributed significantly to the pickup in prices were travel services, clothing, and the purchase of passenger vehicles.
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.8% from February to March, the largest increase since October 2010. The food index, which was up for the fourth consecutive month, rose 1.6% in March. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, advanced 0.6% in March, following a 0.3% increase in February and continuing its string of increases since July 2010.
Seasonally adjusted, the clothing and footwear index posted a monthly increase of 2.1% in March, after remaining unchanged in February. The recreation, education and reading index, which includes travel services, increased 0.5% in March, following a 0.2% advance in February. This marks the seventh straight monthly increase for this index.