2005 Inflation is 3.4 percent

Consumer prices rose by 3.4 percent in 2005 with 40 percent of the increase blamed on the biggest jump in energy costs since 1990. Energy was up 17.1 percent this past year, reflecting gasoline prices that for a time soared above $3 a gallon and crude oil prices that topped $70 per barrel.

There has been hope that overall inflation will slow to around 2.5 percent in 2006. But that is based on a belief that after two years of big increases, energy prices will calm down, something that has not yet occurred.

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