By MARTIN CRUTSINGERAP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers spending rise in February at the fastest pace in four months, but a big part of the increase went to cover higher prices for gas.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.7 percent in February. Personal incomes rose 0.3 percent. That was after a 1.2 percent January income increase _ the biggest in nearly two years. Both gains reflected a Social Security tax cut which boosted take-home pay.
Still, high gas prices were a big reason for the increase in spending. Economists are concerned that if energy costs keep going up, it will cut into household budgets and leave consumers with less money to spend on other items.