June 5 (UPI) -- U.S. retail gasoline prices are pulling back in line with declines in crude oil prices, but continue to put a crimp on people's wallets, analysts said.
Motor club AAA lists the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline at $2.94 per gallon on Tuesday, just a fraction of a percent lower than Monday and only a couple of cents less than last week.
Ahead of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, and in the wake of concerns about U.S. sanctions pressures on Iran, analysts had expected the price of gas to reach the psychological level of $3 per gallon across the country.
Fears of a global trade war, proposals from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to put more oil on the market, and steady increases in U.S. crude oil production have all contributed to a drop in crude oil prices. Retail gasoline prices, however, don't decline as fast as oil, though the two cent drop in gas prices marked the first decrease in the national average since the middle of March.
Federal data show demand for gasoline is relatively high, but slightly below levels from this time last year. Consumer fuel prices, meanwhile, have increased over last year more than any other good.
Separate analysis from GasBuddy, meanwhile, found 40 states reported declines in retail gasoline prices from last week. Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy's senior petroleum analyst, said relief, however, is a relative term.
"Prices remain well above their year-ago level, costing the country $228 million more every day versus a year ago," he said.
The West Coast is the most expensive market in the country, with all states in the region showing an average price above $3 per gallon. Prices there, however, have been relatively stable over the last week as the market shows ample supplies of gasoline.
The Great Lakes market, meanwhile, is the most volatile, with Michigan taking the distinction with a 12-cent drop in prices over last week for the largest one-week decline in the country. In a gauge of volatility, Michigan gas prices vary between $2.78 and $3.13 per gallon.
Federal data show the gasoline market in the region is more or less on par with the two-year average.