02/15/2017 03:36 EST | Updated 02/16/2018 00:12 EST

US consumer prices post biggest rise in nearly 4 years

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices rose in January at the fastest pace in nearly four years, strengthening the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year.

The Labor Department says consumer prices rose 0.6 per cent last month, most since February 2013. A 7.8 per cent jump in gasoline prices accounted for almost half the increase. Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, consumer inflation rose 0.3 per cent.

Overall, consumer prices rose 2.5 per cent from a year earlier, most since March 2012.

After remaining low following the 2007-2009 Great Recession, inflation is running above the Fed's 2 per cent annual target.

The Fed left a key interest rate unchanged at its Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting. It said it needs more time to monitor the economy but still expects to raise rates gradually.