WASHINGTON -- Sharply higher prices at the gas pump led to the biggest jump in inflation since the winter, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5% in June after just a 0.1% increase in May. Gasoline prices were the major factor, shooting up 6.3% in June following sharp declines in the spring.
The increase was the largest since prices rose 0.7% in February.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected a 0.3% increase in the index, a key measure of inflation.
The so-called core index, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, was up 0.2%, the same as in May.
Over the previous year, consumer prices for all goods and services rose 1.8%. Although it was a significant increase over the 1.4% annual rate reported in May, inflation remained below the Federal Reserve's target of 2%.
The core inflation rate for the previous year was 1.6% in June, the smallest 12-month rate since mid-2011, the Labor Department said. The 12-month rate in May was 1.6%.
The June rise in gasoline prices, which has continued this month amid concern about political unrest in Egypt, was the biggest since a 9.1% increase in February.
Food prices were up 0.2% in June, the largest monthly increase since December. Those prices had dropped 0.1% in May.
Prices for medical care, new vehicles and clothing also were up significantly in June compared to May.