WASHINGTON — A steep fall in gas costs pushed down a measure of US consumer prices last month, keeping inflation mild.
The seasonally adjusted consumer price index dropped 0.3 percent in November from October, the Labor Department said Friday. Gas prices fell 7.4 percent, the biggest drop in nearly four years. That offset a 0.2 percent rise in food prices.
In the past year, consumer prices have risen 1.8 percent, down from October’s 12-month increase of 2.2 percent.
Excluding the volatile food and gas categories, prices ticked up 0.1 percent in November. Core prices have risen 1.9 percent in the past year — below the Federal Reserve’s annual target of 2 percent.
Higher rents, airline fares, and prices of new cars pushed up core prices last month. The cost of clothing and used cars fell.
‘‘In simplest terms, inflation is not a problem,’’ said Jim Baird, chief investment strategist at Plante Moran Financial Advisors.