U.S. consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent in August as gasoline prices surged, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists polled by Reuters had called for a 0.5 percent rise.

Gasoline prices jumped 9 percent last month, accounting for about 80 percent of the rise in consumer inflation. That's their largest increase since June 2009. Food prices rose a much smaller 0.2 percent.

The underlying inflation was fairly muted. Stripping out volatile food and energy costs, the so-called core CPI increased 0.1 percent for a second month in a row.

Consumer prices have climbed 1.7 percent over the last 12 months and 1.9 percent on a core basis, within the Federal Reserve's target for inflation.