U.S. consumer prices rose at a fractional pace in January, but the price of staying warm set the pace for gains, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.
Prices dropped in the month on a seasonally adjusted basis for a variety of items, including gasoline, which lost 1 percent and vehicles, where prices were trimmed by 0.3 percent.
The price of clothing also dropped 0.3 percent.
Overall, prices were up 0.1 percent.
Still, staying warm became pricier. The electricity index rose 1.8 percent, its largest jump in nearly four years.
The strongest gains in the month in which winter gripped the country and would not let go, were prices for fuel oil, which jumped 3.7 percent under pressure of high demand. Natural gas prices also were higher, jumping 3.6 percent in the month.
Take away the seasonal adjustment and gasoline prices were up 1.4 percent. Over 12 months, however, while all energy indexes have gone up, gasoline prices have increased only 0.1 percent, the bureau said.
Inflation at the grocery store was subdued with prices up 0.1 percent. Indexes for cereal, baked products and for dairy items rose, as did prices for meat and eggs. Prices for fruits and vegetables and for beverages fell.
Over 12 months, the index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs has climbed 3.3 percent. Cereal prices have also headed higher over 12 months, but other major grocery store food indexes have declined, the bureau said.