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News Summary: Cheap gas lowers US consumer prices

The Associated Press

BIG PRICE DROP: A plunge in the cost of gas drove down a measure of U.S. consumer prices last month by the most since December 2008. The consumer price index fell 0.4 percent in April from March.

INFLATION TAME: Excluding fuel costs, prices were largely unchanged. And for the 12 months that ended in April, overall prices rose just 1.1 percent — the smallest yearly increase in 2½ years.

FED WORRIES: Scant inflation allows the Federal Reserve to continue its extraordinary efforts to stimulate the economy. Worries about lower inflation might push the Fed to step up its low interest-rate policies to stimulate more spending and push prices higher.