Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Consumer prices driven higher by gasoline

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Consumer prices rose in 2009 as gasoline prices were more than 50% higher from 2008's depressed levels, the government said Friday.

The Consumer Price Index, the government's key inflation reading, rose 2.7% during the past 12 months. That compares with a 0.1% rise for 2008.

The increase was due to higher gas prices, which rose 53.5% over the last year after declining 43.1% in 2008.

Food prices fell 0.5% last year after climbing 5.9% in 2008. It was the first December-to-December decline since 1961.

The so-called core CPI, which is more closely watched by economists because it excludes volatile food and energy prices, was up 1.8% over the past year, the same increase as in 2008.

December numbers. Overall prices rose 0.1% last month, driven by a sharp rise in prices for used cars and trucks. But the gain was smaller than the 0.2% rise Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast.

The core CPI also increased 0.1% in the month, which matched economists' expectations. Core prices were held in check as housing costs, which make up 40% of the index, were unchanged from November.

"Core inflation was held down by housing prices," said Mark Vitner, an economists at Wells Fargo Securities. "That's likely to continue because housing is in over supply."

However, prices outside of housing, energy and food are now going up at the fastest rate since 1982, according to Vitner.

Gas prices were up 0.2% last month after increasing 6.4% in November. Food prices also rose 0.2% in December after rising 0.1% in each of the previous two months.

"The overall and core CPI were both well behaved in December," Vitner said. But despite the modest monthly increases, there are some "trouble spots beneath the surface," he warned.

"After falling through much of 2009, food prices have begun to trend higher," Vitner said. "Energy prices are also up on year-to-year basis and will no longer constrain inflation." To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,550.69 -47.51 -0.27%
Nasdaq 5,105.55 -9.84 -0.19%
S&P 500 2,093.32 -4.72 -0.22%
Treasuries 2.25 0.04 1.94%
Data as of 8:53am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 114.64 -3.80 -3.21%
Baxter International... 40.31 0.80 2.02%
Bank of America Corp... 17.80 0.03 0.17%
Baxalta Inc 37.10 3.95 11.92%
Frontier Communicati... 5.25 0.10 1.94%
Data as of Aug 4
Sponsors

Sections

The company's movie studios went up 13% thanks in large part to "Avengers: Age of Ultron." More

Many of the GOP presidential candidates say they'll repeal or greatly revise the Affordable Care Act and they've cited a whole litany of reasons why. Some are true. Many are myths. CNNMoney sets the record straight. More

Security researchers have discovered how to use software to make any modern device -- printer, washing machine, air conditioner -- into a radio. More

Candle-Lite is committed to manufacturing in America -- which is a good thing because it contributes more than $300 million to Ohio's economy. More

You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More