The first increase in gasoline prices since May helped push consumer prices up 0.3 percent in October while retail sales posted a modest advance.
The Labor Department said the 0.3 percent rise in its Consumer Price Index in October was identical to a moderate September advance.
Excluding food and energy, inflation was even better behaved. The so-called core rate of consumer prices rose just 0.2 percent in October, reflecting declines in the price of both new and used cars.
The Commerce Department report on retail sales showed they rose 0.2 percent in October, far below the 0.8 percent September increase.
Much of the slower growth reflected the fact that auto sales fell by 0.3 percent after surging 1.7 percent in September.