WASHINGTON – Consumer prices rose again in September as Americans paid more for gasoline and a wide variety of groceries, the government reported Wednesday.

The Labor Department said the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent last month after rising 0.4 percent in August. The core rate of inflation rose 0.1 percent, the smallest increase since March.

The core rate strips out the volatile food and energy categories and is viewed as a more accurate gauge of inflation by investors and the Federal Reserve. Some economists expect core inflation to retreat in the coming months because of falling commodity costs and consumer resistance to higher prices.

“With households facing weak wage growth and tight budgets, it is difficult to see a sustained broad-based increase in prices,” said Neil Dutta, an economist at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

Yet higher food and gas prices have certainly hit consumers hard during the past year. Energy prices have soared 19.3 percent while food costs have risen 4.7 percent.

In September, energy prices rose 2 percent on the heels of a 1.2 percent increase in August. Food prices climbed 0.5 percent as the cost of dairy products, cereals, baked goods, fruits and vegetables all surged.