US inflation picks up on higher gas prices

Surging gasoline prices drove a pickup in US inflation in February, with the consumer price index adding 0.7 percent for the month, the Labor Department said Friday.

The gasoline price index rose 9.1 percent for the month, accounting for about three-fourths of the overall pickup in consumer prices, the department said.

Excluding food and energy, prices gained 0.2 percent in February, with rises coming in the costs of housing, used vehicles and medical care.

On an annual basis the broader CPI was up 2.0 percent, compared to 1.6 percent in the 12 months to January.

The gain in prices came after two flat months, and could ease in March as gasoline prices are expected to fall significantly this month.