The Consumer Price Index, the most broadly used gauge of inflation, rose at the fastest rate since September 2005, as energy costs jumped 5.7 percent, a Labor Department report said. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a 0.6 percent rise in the CPI.
Energy accounted for nearly 70 percent of this month's increase in the CPI, a Labor Department official said.
Even so, core prices, which strip out volatile food and energy costs, were up 0.3 percent, the biggest jump since the same increase in January. Analysts were expecting a 0.2 percent rise in core prices.
Consumer prices were also 4.3 percent higher than a year ago, the steepest increase since a matching gain in June 2006 and above the 4.1 percent rise forecast by economists. But stripping out food and energy, prices were up 2.3 percent from November 2006, which was in line with expectations.