Led by food and energy, consumer prices rose sharply in January, sparking renewed fears of inflation, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

Across the board, prices surged by 0.5 percent last month, up by 4.3 percent from a year ago. The gains were driven by higher food and energy prices, which rose by 0.7 percent. Excluding food and energy, so-called core consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent.

While prices for most consumer goods and services were on the rise, prices for cars and trucks dropped by 0.3 percent, according to the report.

In a recent survey of more than 1,800 small-business owners, 26 percent said they expected to raise prices in the months ahead, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, a Washington-based small-business lobby group.