Consumer prices jumped 0.4% in April, led by higher gasoline and food costs

The prices that American consumers paid for goods and services rose 0.4% in April, with higher gasoline costs accounting for more than half the increase, the government reported Friday.

Consumer prices have jumped 3.2% over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since October 2008. As recently as November, the 12-month increase was 1.1%.

Surging oil prices accounted for the bulk of the price increase, as the energy index jumped 2.2% last month. Energy prices have leaped 19% — and gas has surged 33% — over the last 12 months. As a result, the cost of gas now tops $4 a gallon in many parts of the U.S.

Food prices rose 0.4% last month, but that was smaller than March’s 0.8% increase. The slower increase in food costs stemmed from declining prices of fresh vegetables.


Still, food costs have climbed 3.2% over the last 12 months.

The government’s “food at home” index, which excludes takeout orders and restaurant purchases, increased 0.5% in April, and it has risen 3.9% over the last 12 months.

Stripping out food and energy, the core rate of consumer-price inflation rose 0.2% — matching analyst expectations. The core rate has risen 1.3% over the last year, but a much sharper 2.1% in the first four months of 2011.

Bartash writes for