US inflation grows at fastest rate in months

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has attributed 80% of the latest month-on-month rise in inflation to sharp increases in the gasoline index.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.4% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.9% before seasonal adjustment.

It is the largest monthly increase in inflation since April 2011.

The bureau’s analysis of the increase revealed that it is largely due to rising energy costs, adding: “The gasoline index rose sharply in February, accounting for over 80% of the change in the all items index.

“The gasoline increase led to a 3.2% rise in the energy index despite a decline in the index for natural gas.”

Energy costs have risen 7% over the twelve months ending February. Within this measurement, gasoline has demonstrated the largest annual increase as it rose by 12.6%.

President Barack Obama delivered a speech on the increasingly contentious topic of energy costs in Maryland yesterday, arguing that the US was producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.

“We are drilling at a record pace but we’re doing so in a way that protects the health and safety and the natural resources of the American people,” he said.

Obama reiterated his commitment to developing other sources of energy in order to reduce the current dependency on foreign oil supplies.

In response, Republican Party frontrunner Mitt Romney has accused the Obama administration of a “simply incoherent” energy policy and having “stifled the domestic energy sector”.

Governor Romney has outlined his own proposals designed to reform the energy sector, including an amendment to the Clean Air Act which would exclude carbon dioxide from its purview, and increasing production by means of approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.