Official figures show higher petrol prices pushed inflation upward for the second month in a row in November.
The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose to 1.9% last month from 1.5% in October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Average petrol prices rose by 2.9p to 108.3p a litre in November, compared with a record 9.3p fall to 95.2p a year earlier - adding to inflationary pressure.
November’s inflation figure is slightly higher than the 1.8% expected by most City economists.
CPI is still currently below the Bank of England’s 2% target but could rise to 3% or more early next year when the temporary VAT cut is reversed. This will put up prices - including petrol - across the board.
Other factors pushing up inflation in November included rises in second-hand car prices which contrasted with falls a year earlier. Airlines have also cut prices by less than a year ago and clothing prices rose by more than in 2008, the ONS added.
Despite the increasing pain at the petrol pumps, there was some relief for hard-pressed households in their shopping bills.
The ONS said food and non-alcoholic drink prices edged 0.6% higher over the month but the annual rate of inflation fell to 1.1% - the lowest level since May 2006 - thanks to falling vegetable, meat and dairy product costs.
The broader Retail Prices Index (RPI) - which includes house prices and mortgage interest payments - meanwhile returned to positive territory, with prices 0.3% higher than a year ago.
The RPI was last positive in January this year, but has showed negative since March as the impact of house price falls and interest rate cuts last year worked their way through the figures.
House prices fell a year earlier but rose last month, while mortgage interest payments also slid in November last year when lenders passed on the Bank of England’s 0.5% emergency cut in interest rates in the wake of the financial crisis.
Daiwa Securities economist Colin Ellis said Bank of England rate-setters should not be deterred from record low interest rates and efforts to boost the money supply by a temporary inflation spike.
He said: “Policymakers must look through short-term inflation dynamics and relative price shifts such as these, and focus on underlying inflationary pressure.
“A temporary rise in inflation, by itself, is not a good reason to raise interest rates.”
Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist with Capital Economics, added: “We remain convinced that the vast amount of spare capacity in the economy will keep underlying price pressures subdued for some time.”