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U.S. consumers borrow more in February to buy cars

Ford Fusion
The company logo shines off the chromed grille of an unsold 2010 Fusion sedan at a Ford dealership in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009. Lured by the government's cash-for-clunkers campaign, car and truck buyers started to return to Ford Motor Co. showrooms last month, with the automaker reporting its first U.S. sales increase in nearly two years. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP Photo/David Zalubowski

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON — Americans took out more loans to buy cars and attend school last month but used their credit cards less frequently for the second straight month.

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing increased by $8.7 billion, the sixth straight monthly increase.

The jump in borrowing was driven by $11 billion increase in the category that mostly measures demand for auto and student loans. Borrowing on credit cards fell $2 billion after a $3 billion decline in January.

In February, total consumer borrowing rose to seasonally adjusted $2.52 trillion. That's nearly at pre-recession levels and up from a post-recession low point of $2.39 billion reached in September 2010. Borrowing had tumbled for more than two years during and immediately after the recession.

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