New Lenox mayor renews call to boycott gas stations
BY ERIN GALLAGHER Correspondent September 24, 2013 4:14PM
Updated: October 26, 2013 6:29AM
New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann routinely has complained about gas prices being higher in the village than at gas stations carrying the same brands in neighboring towns.
Now Baldermann says he will pay for the signs for anyone who wants to picket New Lenox gas stations. He is asking residents to not buy gas, food or any other items from local stations for one month.
“I’ll buy the signs out of my own pocket — and if we can somehow fit the inflatable rat on one of our sidewalks, I’d do that, too,” he told the village board Monday.
Baldermann spoke last year with gasoline companies and said he was told stations compete within a given municipality’s limits. He called for a boycott then, and prices temporarily dropped in New Lenox. When they rose again, the mayor contacted the Illinois Attorney General’s office, which determined there was no evidence of collusion or unfair pricing practices.
But Baldermann said he’s “tired of it.”
“The responsibility rests squarely now on the residents,” Baldermann said. “If they are willing to pay, then the gas stations will continue to charge higher prices.”
He implored residents to not only boycott New Lenox’s BP, Speedway, Jewel and Citgo stations but to also boycott those stations in every town.
According to chicagogasprices.com, the lowest price for a gallon of regular gas in New Lenox in a 24-hour period through Tuesday afternoon was $3.49. At least seven New Lenox stations were or had been at that price, including four Speedways, a Shell, a BP and a 7-Eleven. In comparison, Homer Glen had five stations, also including Speedway, Shell and 7-Eleven, selling gas for $3.22 per gallon or less; and Joliet had six stations charging $3.38, according to the website.
But the lowest price in both Mokena and Frankfort was $3.55 per gallon, 6 cents more than in New Lenox, according to chicagogasprices.com.
Baldermann said the village board is doing what it can to increase competitive pricing, including bringing in independently owned Lenny’s Food N Fuel to Cedar Road and Route 6. The board hopes to attract other independent gas stations as well, he said.