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Consumer prices increase in Boston, US

Consumer prices in the Boston metropolitan area rose by 2.1 percent over the past year, consistent with the national average, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

Housing and energy costs drove inflation in the region last month. Overall energy costs climbed 5.2 percent from a year earlier. Electricity prices jumped more than 9 percent, more than double the 3.6 percent increase nationally, but natural gas prices declined in the Boston area.

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Gasoline prices increased 5 percent from May 2013, more than double the national average of 2.3 percent. Still, gasoline prices remained lower in Boston, at monthly average of $3.70 per gallon compared to $3.75 in the rest of the country.

Housing costs in the Boston area rose just over 3 percent from a year ago, slightly faster than national average. Food prices in May, however, increased less than 1 percent from year earlier, less than half the national increase of 2.5 percent.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.
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