Consumer prices rise 0.2% in September as vehicles spike

SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. consumer prices rose slightly in September, led again by sharp increases in the index for used vehicles.

The Labor Department reported today that the consumer price index rose 0.2% last month, after gaining 0.4% in August.

Prices for used cars and trucks rose 6.7% in September after a 5.4% gain in August and are now up 10.3% in the past 12 months.

Overall inflation for the last 12 months is up 1.4% while core inflation, which excludes energy and food, is up 1.7%.

Inflation remains below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%, and Fed officials in the summer changed their operating policy to say that the Fed was prepared to allow for inflation above that level for a time, in order to make up for the many years its been below that target.

Because of that change, many economists believe the Fed will leave its benchmark interest rate at a record low near zero for the foreseeable future as it tries to lift the country out of a recession which has cost millions of jobs.