Updated: February 19, 2013 1:52PM
WASHINGTON — Lower gas costs offset more expensive food and higher rents to keep a measure of U.S. consumer prices flat last month.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that food prices increased 0.2 percent in December from November. Rents and airline fares also rose. Gasoline prices fell a seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent.
The flat reading of the December consumer price index ends a year when inflation slowed. Consumer prices rose only 1.7 percent in 2012, down from 3 percent in 2011.