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Inflation Highest in 40 Years

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Inflation in the United States accelerated in March to its highest percentage increase in four decades, according to the Department of Labor.

The Consumer Price Index rose 1.2 percent in March from February, led by higher prices for gasoline, shelter and food, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its monthly statement yesterday.

"The all-items index continued to accelerate, rising 8.5 percent for the 12 months ending in March, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending in December 1981," the statement said. "The all-items less food and energy index rose 6.5 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending in August 1982."

In March, the gasoline index rose 18.3 percent, accounting for more than half of the CPI’s monthly increase. The 12-month increase for gasoline was 48 percent. The index for used cars and trucks declined by 3.8 percent.

Gasoline prices, which traditionally have had an impact on boat usage, are lower so far in April than they were in March. After soaring to a record $4.33 per gallon in March, the average nationwide price has eased to $4.083 per gallon as of this morning, according to AAA.

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