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US electricity and gasoline prices push up energy sector inflation

NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - U.S. electricity and gasoline prices increased sharply in March, with electricity up 0.9% and gasoline up 1.7%, leading the energy sector to far outpace broader inflation for the month, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released on Wednesday.

Energy prices, which include electricity, gasoline, fuel oil and other power and oil-related goods and services, jumped by 1.1% last month compared to a 0.4% rise in the broader Consumer Price Index, BLS data showed.

For the last 12 months, energy prices were up 2.1%, lower than the overall 3.5% inflation. Gasoline gained 1.3% for the past year, while electricity jumped 5%.

Rapidly rising demand from data-intensive processing and manufacturing, coupled with lengthening delays to expand the country's electrical grids with renewable power supply and transmission lines, have accelerated the rise in the country's electric bills.

Gasoline prices have been propelled by rising crude oil costs and slowing U.S. oil refining activity that has resulted in tightening fuel supplies. (Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by David Gregorio)