Rising car insurance premiums put further pressure on household budgets last month as inflation remained at its highest level since last May.
Price hikes for digital cameras, books and DVDs kept Consumer Prices Index (CPI) above target but inflation eased at the petrol pumps.
CPI inflation stayed at 2.8% in March after a 5.8% increase in the cost of transport insurance offset slower rises in diesel and petrol prices, the Office for National Statistics said.
Inflation remained unchanged in February but there are fears over a summer of financial pain for consumers ahead as economists predict CPI to hit 3.5% over the next few months.
The underlying rate of retail price index inflation remained unchanged at 3.2% in March, the ONS said.
The headline rate of retail price index inflation rose to 3.3% in March, from 3.2% in February, the Office for National Statistics said.
Official figures show the rate of consumer price index inflation remained unchanged at 2.8% in March.