WASHINGTON (AP) _ Wholesale prices were tame in February, rising a tiny 0.1 percent after shooting up the month before. Lower costs for cars and trucks helped to blunt higher prices for natural gas and other energy products.

The small advance in the Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach store shelves, followed a huge 1.1 percent in January, the Labor Department reported Friday. February's performance was on target with many analysts' forecasts.

Prices for goods other than food and energy products _ which often swing widely from month to month _ actually fell 0.3 percent in February, marking the biggest drop since August 1993. Prices fell for many goods but decreases in car and truck prices led the way.

That followed a big 0.7 percent jump in the ``core'' rate of inflation in January. Price increases during that month were widespread for all types of goods, although record price increases for natural gas was the biggest booster to overall wholesale inflation.

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