Gasoline prices fell 21.8 percent in the 12 months to February, after declining 26.9 percent in January. As a result, transportation costs declined 5 percent, for the fourth consecutive month. Conversely, consumers paid 1.2 percent more for the purchase of passenger vehicles on a year-over-year basis. In addition to paying lower prices for gasoline on a year-over-year basis in February, consumers paid 1.0 percent less for the purchase of passenger vehicles. February marked the first year-over-year decrease in the purchase of passenger vehicles index since May 2013.
Excluding gasoline, the CPI increased 2.2 percent on a year-over-year basis in February, following a 2.4 percent rise the previous month.
Food prices advanced 3.9 percent in the 12 months to February. Prices for food purchased from stores were up 4.3 percent on a year-over-year basis in February, after rising 5.4 percent the previous month. Price gains for meat (+12.4 percent), fresh vegetables (+8.4 percent) and fresh fruit (+3.5 percent) contributed the most to the February increase, although these gains were smaller than in January. Prices for food purchased from restaurants rose 2.8 percent year over year in February.
The shelter index rose 1.8 percent on a year-over-year basis in February. Natural gas prices increased 10.8 percent in the 12 months to February, while the cost of homeowners' home and mortgage insurance rose 8.6 percent. Consumers also paid 3.8 percent more for electricity. In contrast, prices for fuel oil declined 23.4 percent in February compared with the same month a year earlier.
Among provinces, the largest decline was in Prince Edward Island (-1.5 percent), while the smallest was in Newfoundland and Labrador (-0.1 percent). In addition to lower prices for gasoline, year-over-year declines in the cost of fuel oil were a notable factor in the Atlantic provinces. Fuel oil is a key source of energy for heating in these provinces and carries a larger basket weight than at the national level.
On the other hand, Ontario’s CPI rose 1.3 percent in the 12 months to February, the highest increase among provinces.
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.9 percent in February, the first rise in four months.