Consumer prices in the 13 westernmost states increased by 0.5 percent in February. Housing costs were responsible for almost half of the monthly increases. Prices have risen 3 percent in the West over the last 12 months. The housing index rose 0.6 percent over the previous month. Utility costs increased 2.5 percent; transportation costs increased 0.9 percent; apparel prices rose 2 percent; and food and beverage prices were unchanged.