NEW: Increasing gas costs, rents push up consumer prices

WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumer prices rose in January for only the second time in four months, pushed up by higher costs for food, gas, rent and clothes.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last month, after a flat reading in December. Both November and October were revised slightly higher to show an increase of 0.1 percent and no change, respectively.

Excluding volatile food and energy, so-called "core" prices ticked up 0.2 percent. Medical care and tobacco prices also increased. Car prices were unchanged, and airfares fell.

Prices rose 2.9 percent for the 12 months ending in January. That's down slightly from December's year-over-year change of 3 percent. Core prices moved up 2.3 percent, the largest 12-month increase in more than three years.


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