Consumer prices were flat in November after dropping 0.1 percent in October, the Labor Department said Tuesday. For the second consecutive month and for the third month out of the past four, gasoline prices fell, keeping overall inflation in check, the department said. Gasoline prices fell 1.6 percent following a 2.9 percent decline in October. Over the past 12 months, gasoline prices have dropped 5.8 percent. Inflation is one of the key measures -- along with the employment situation -- used by the U.S. Federal Reserve to set monetary policy. While looking to avoid deflation, the Fed's target rate for inflation is 2 percent or below. With many investors concerned the Fed will taper back on its accommodating asset purchasing program, there can be little concern that inflation has been put into high gear due to easy money policies. The Labor Department said core inflation, which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy, rose 0.2 percent month to month in November and 1.7 percent over the past 12 months. Food prices in November rose 0.1 percent month to month, climbing 1.2 percent over 12 months.