The Consumer Price Index fell 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis for March, according to a Labor Department report (link opens in PDF) released today.
After rising 0.7% for February, market analysts had expected overall prices to remain unchanged for March.
Gas prices had fueled much of February's rise, but falling energy costs were a primary driver behind March's price drop. Gasoline prices decreased 4.4%, while the overall energy index managed a 2.6% drop. Food prices remained flat.
Excluding food and energy prices, consumer prices bumped up 0.1%, just under analysts' predictions of a 0.2% increase. Used cars and trucks made the largest price gains, up 1.2%, while apparel lagged with a 1% price slump.
On a longer-term basis, the overall index increased 1.5% in the last year, or 1.9% without food and energy prices. Food prices are up 1.5% for the same time period, while energy prices have dropped 1.6%.
Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
More from The Motley Fool
No Holiday Reprieve for 2 of the Biggest Retail Train Wrecks
Most department store chains have posted surprisingly strong results for the 2017 holiday season. However, these perennial laggards couldn't capitalize on the uptick in consumer spending.
3 Stocks That Could Put Amazon's Returns to Shame
These three tickers could be better bets than Amazon for new investors right now.
Will This iPhone Supplier’s Terrific Run Continue in 2018?
Lumentum's growing momentum in 3D sensing could help it overcome the weakness in the telecom segment.