Year-on-year, prices rose faster for shelter (3.3 percent compared to 3.1 percent) and medical care services (2.1 percent from 1.8 percent) and rebounded for used cars and trucks (0.4 percent from -0.1 percent). On the other hand, inflation was steady for electricity (2.2 percent) and slowed for fuel oil (20 percent from 20.7 percent in February); transportation services (4.3 percent from 4.5 percent); energy (7 percent from 7.7 percent), namely gasoline (11.1 percent from 12.6 percent) and utility piped gas service (3.4 percent from 3.8 percent); food (1.3 percent from 1.4 percent); apparel (0.3 percent from 0.4 percent); and medical care commodities (1.4 percent from 1.6 percent). Prices continued to fall for new vehicles (-1.2 percent from -1.5 percent). Core inflation which excludes food and energy increased to 2.1 percent from 1.8 percent.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices declined 0.1 percent, following a 0.2 percent rise in February and compared to expectations of a flat reading. A decline in the gasoline index more than outweighed increases in the indexes for shelter, medical care, and food. The energy index fell sharply due mainly to the 4.9 percent decrease in gasoline. The index for food rose 0.1 percent over the month, with the indexes for food at home and food away from home both increasing. Excluding food and energy, prices increased 0.2 percent in March, the same increase as in February. Along with shelter and medical care, the indexes for personal care, motor vehicle insurance, and airline fares all rose. The indexes for apparel, for communication, and for used cars and trucks all declined over the month.