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Gas, food drive local inflation

Gas station in Hauppauge

Gas station in Hauppauge Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Steeper prices for gasoline, food, clothing and health care pushed up inflation 2.3 percent last month in the metropolitan area compared with a year earlier, according to a report released Friday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said prices grew the fastest year-over-year than at any time since January 2010, when they gained 2.4 percent in the 31-county region that includes Long Island.

Labor Commissioner Michael L. Dolfman blamed the recent surge in inflation in part on gas prices, which rose 28.3 percent from March 2010. They topped $4 per gallon today in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The AAA reported the average pump price for regular grade was $4.022 on Long Island, up from $3.998. A year ago, regular was $3.004.

Inflation also was up in the metropolitan area last month 0.7 percent compared with February.

While gasoline prices spiked, home heating oil and other energy used in homes only rose 1.2 percent last month compared with a year earlier.

The cost of groceries, driven by increases in fish, seafood and milk, was up 3.3 percent from March 2010. Restaurant and takeout meals grew a more modest 1.7 percent.

Excluding energy and food, the regional Consumer Price Index rose 1.3 percent in the past year.

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