Food prices along the Wasatch Front rose at seven times the national rate in August, and the overall cost of living in Utah also increased, while nationally, inflation declined slightly.

The cost of groceries increased 4.9 percent from July to August on the Wasatch Front, compared with only 0.7 percent nationally, according to the Wells Fargo Consumer Price Index that was released today. The overall cost of living rose 0.1 % from July to August, while the cost of living nationally decreased -0.4%.

Wells Fargo economist Kelly Matthews said the high prices of gasoline and diesel fuel were major contributing factors for the significant increase in food prices along the Wasatch Front. Gas prices in Utah were the third-highest in the nation in mid-August, prompting Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to say the state would monitor the situation to make sure Utah consumers weren't being gouged.

Over the past six months, food prices have jumped 10.2 percent locally, driven mostly by a 11.2 percent hike in Utah fuel costs over that period, Matthews said. Nationally, food prices have increased 4.3 percent over the last six months and 5.5 percent since August 2007.

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