The cost of gasoline climbed 11.3 percent last month compared...

The cost of gasoline climbed 11.3 percent last month compared with March 2017, according to the metro area Consumer Price Index. Credit: AP/Elise Amendola

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose last month compared with a year ago on higher housing costs.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday reported its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.7 percent in March compared with a year earlier.

The index increased at the same rate in February, year over year.

Last month, the cost of owning or renting a home rose 2.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, compared with March 2017.

Martin Kohli, the bureau’s chief regional economist, said “shelter [prices] drove the 12-month increase” in the price index.

The cost of gasoline climbed 11.3 percent last month compared with March 2017.

Electricity and natural gas were up 4 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

Grocery prices increased 1.1 percent last month compared with a year ago. And the cost of medical care rose 2 percent.

These increases were partially offset by declines in the price of clothing and household furnishings, which fell 2.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

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