The rising cost of gasoline last month pushed consumer prices higher and cut consumer spending power. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.6 percent last month, data from the Labor Department indicated Tuesday.
Gasoline prices increased 7 percent in September after climbing 9 percent during August. Analysts claim higher fuel costs force Americans to cut back on other spending. Underlying inflation, however, was relatively muted. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, increased 0.1 percent during September for the third month in a row.
Over the past year, consumer prices have risen 2 percent, the fastest pace since April and up from 1.7 percent in august. Core prices also rose 2 percent in the year through September. Economists generally believe inflation is not a threat to the U.S. economy in the short or long term.
Oil prices closed Tuesday slightly higher, with benchmark U.S. crude at $92.09 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, lost 40 cents to finish at $114 per barrel in London.
On Monday the Energy Information Administration said the average price of gasoline in the U.S. was $3.819 per gallon, 3 cents per gallon lower than the previous week, but 34 cents per gallon higher than the same time last year. The U.S. average price for diesel on Monday was $4.15 per gallon, up 5 cents from the previous week and 35 cents higher than last year.
The Labor Department said that food prices rose just 0.1 percent during September despite the drought that devastated most of middle America. Labor Department data also revealed that the cost of apparel climbed 0.3 percent in September, new motor vehicle prices fell 0.1 percent and used cars and trucks dropped 1.4 percent. Housing costs climbed 0.2 percent.