Excluding food and energy, producer prices rose by 0.5 percent last month, the sharpest increase since November 2006, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The gains, which included higher prices for both intermediate and finished goods, were led by cars, light trucks, pharmaceuticals and alcohol, the report said. At the same time, gas prices rose by 2.9 percent in February and were up by more than 40 percent in the past 12 months.

In the past year, overall producer prices have increased by 6.4 percent, while core prices have increased by 2.4 percent, the biggest year-to-year gain in five months.