(CN) – The prices U.S. consumers pay for goods rose in January at the fastest pace in nearly four years, the Labor Department announced Wednesday.
According to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent last month, the most since February 2013, and twice what economists were expecting.
The government attributed nearly half the increase to a 7.8 percent rise in gasoline prices. Advances in the indexes for shelter, apparel, and new vehicles also were major contributors, federal analysts said.
The energy index increased 4.0 percent in January as the gasoline index advanced 7.8 percent and the index for natural gas also increased.
The food index, which had been unchanged for 6 consecutive months, increased 0.1 percent. The food at home index was unchanged, while the index for food away from home rose 0.4 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in January.
Most of the major component indexes increased in January, with the indexes for apparel, new vehicles, motor vehicle insurance, and airline fares all rising 0.8 percent or more. The shelter index rose 0.2 percent, a smaller increase than in recent months.