Wholesale prices rise due to higher gas costs

/ Source: msnbc.com news services

More expensive gas, cars and furniture pushed wholesale prices higher last month.

The Labor Department says the Producer Price Index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, rose 0.7 percent in March. That's down from 1.6 percent in February. The index has increased 5.8 percent in the past year.

Excluding food and energy, the core index rose 0.3 percent in March and 1.9 percent in the past year.

Higher energy prices accounted for nearly all of the increase. Gas prices rose 5.7 percent in March. Food prices dipped last month, after soaring by the most in 36 years in February due to a harsh winter freeze.

In February the PPI index posted its largest monthly gain since October 2008.