Nam Y. Huh/APConsumer spending rose in June, helped by an increase in auto sales. WASHINGTON -- U.S. consumer spending increased and inflation pushed higher in June, which could strengthen expectations that the Federal Reserve will curtail its bond purchases later this year. The Commerce Department said Friday consumer spending rose 0.5 percent, lifted by automobile purchases and higher gasoline prices. May's increase was revised down to 0.2 percent from a previously reported 0.3 percent. June's increase in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, was in line with economist expectations. A price index for consumer spending rose 0.4 percent, the largest gain since February. It had edged up 0.1 percent in May. During the past 12 months, inflation rose 1.3 percent, still below the Fed's 2 percent target. The index advanced 1.1 percent in the period through May. With prices picking up, consumer spending adjusted for inflation nudged up 0.1 percent. The so-called consumer spending, which goes into the calculation of gross domestic product, had increased by the same margin in May. The consumer spending numbers were included in the second-quarter GDP report Wednesday, which showed the economy grew at a 1.7 percent annual pace after expanding at a 1.1 percent rate in the first three months of the year.