The government will issue its October report on consumer prices on Thursday. In September, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent. That gain reflected the big jump in gas prices. Excluding food and energy costs, consumer prices inched up just 0.1 percent in September.The 0.2 percent rise in food prices at the wholesale level in September was the smallest change since prices dropped for two months in April and May. In June, July and August, prices showed larger gains, reflecting in part this year's severe drought in the Midwest. That has raised the price of corn, soybeans and other grains. Corn is used in animal feed and most products found in the supermarket, from cereal to cosmetics. More expensive corn prices can push up beef and pork prices because corn is an ingredient in animal feeds. Gas prices averaged $3.44 a gallon nationwide on Tuesday, down 35 cents from a month ago, according to a survey by AAA's Fuel Gauge.