Inflation moderated in the greater Seattle area last month due to falling prices for household electricity and natural gas, though gasoline and shelter had hefty increases.

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Despite hefty price increases for gasoline and shelter, Seattle-area inflation moderated last month, mainly due to falling prices for household electricity and natural gas.

Overall prices were 3.4 percent higher in April versus April 2007, according to data released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That compared favorably to the national 12-month inflation rate of 3.9 percent; April was the first month since June 2006 in which local inflation came in below the national figure. Both the local and national figures cited here are not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Seattle-area gasoline prices jumped 3.3 percent in April and stood 15.2 percent higher than a year ago.

Believe it or not, that was better than the nation as a whole: 5.6 percent for the month and 20.7 percent for the past 12 months. (However, gas in Seattle tends to cost more than average even in the best of times.)

Rents in the Seattle area rose 0.4 percent in April and 8.6 percent over the past year. Owner’s equivalent rent, a proxy for home prices, was up 0.5 percent last month and 6.8 percent since April 2007.

However, according to the BLS data it cost Seattle-area residents 12 percent less to supply their homes and apartments with natural gas than a year ago, and 3.7 percent less for electricity. Household furnishings were down 6.4 percent since April 2007, and clothing prices fell 3.5 percent.

Grocery prices in metro Seattle rose 1.6 percent in April, a bit faster than the national one-month change of 1.3 percent. Over the past 12 months, grocery prices were up 5.5 percent locally and 5.9 percent nationally.