After years of feeding the inflation monster, gasoline is making prices fall. Consumer prices in the Puget Sound area have fallen 0. 8 percent in the...

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After years of feeding the inflation monster, gasoline is making prices fall.

Consumer prices in the Puget Sound area have fallen 0.8 percent in the past two months, as gasoline prices saw their sharpest drop since 1998, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The local price data are reported only every other month.

Excluding energy costs, however, prices rose by 0.6 percent.

And prices are still higher than a year ago — up 3.4 percent from October 2007.

The housing index — which includes shelter, fuel and utilities, furnishings and operations — rose 0.9 percent since August and 4.3 percent from last year.

Food and beverage prices, buoyed in recent months by high transportation and agricultural costs, increased 2 percent since August and 6 percent from last year.

Medical-care prices fell 0.2 percent, and stayed flat versus last year. Prices for apparel rose 0.2 percent from August, but fell 6.4 percent from last year.