Consumers rushed to buy used cars last month as they shunned buses, subways and planes, and that drove consumer prices solidly higher in August. The consumer price index rose 0.4%. That was a tad higher than what economists had forecast, and it marked the third straight month of price gains.
Prices for used cars and trucks rose 5.4% - more than double the increase in July. What’s more, it marked the largest jump in more than five decades. And it accounted for more than 40% of the rise in core consumer prices.
Also lifting the index: higher costs for gas, recreation and household furnishings.
The news comes one day after the Labor Department reported that inflation at the wholesale level rose a bit more than expected in August.
But don’t expect firming inflation pressures to impact monetary policy. The Federal Reserve last month placed new emphasis on the jobs market and less on worries about inflation getting too high.