A week after the mayor of New Lenox, Ill. urged residents to boycott his village's gas stations, which he accused of price gouging after seeing them charge 5 to 20 cents more per gallon than pumps in neighboring towns, gas prices in New Lenox are starting to roll back down.
Since Mayor Tim Baldermann urged residents to take their business elsewhere Monday, gas prices in New Lenox have dropped as much as 11 cents at some stations, according to NBC Chicago.
While Baldermann has heralded the price adjustments as a victory for New Lenox consumers, gas station owners argue that the boycott does unnecessary harm to their business, and say the mayor doesn't understand how gas prices work.
“If we are not the cheapest it does not mean we are price gouging,” Abdul Basit, who owns the BP Gas station at U.S. 30 and Cedar Road in the center of New Lenox, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “A lot of different factors influence the price on a given day. You have to compare prices over one or two years.”
Basit dropped his per-gallon regular gas price to $4.06 Thursday, down 11 percent, but said he was losing money with the reduction, according to the Sun-Times.
In an investigation into gas prices in the area conducted last August, Speedway spokesman Shane Pochard told Patch that station prices are largely determined by nearby competitors' pricing, and that the brunt of gas station profits come from convenience store sales.
However temporary, Mayor Baldermann insists the relief at the pump will have a positive impact on New Lenox residents.
"I understand it's an open market and they can charge what they want. That's America," he told Patch. "But our No. 1 responsibility is to the residents. Businesses: We're here for you, too, but not when you take advantage of our residents."