04/25/2012 06:31 pm ET

Tim Baldermann, Small Town Mayor, Tells Locals To Boycott Gas Stations

How high are gas prices in New Lenox, Ill.?

They're so high, the mayor is sending people out of town to fill up their tanks.

At one New Lenox station, gas is $4.14 per gallon -- 30 cents higher than the national average -- and Mayor Tim Baldermann is urging locals to go down the road if they want to gas up, according to a recent report from CBS Chicago. You can get the same gallon for five cents less in nearby Frankfort.

Baldermann told CBS that a boycott effort is "the only way we can send a clear message to the companies."

Global demand for gasoline keeps climbing as countries like Brazil and India grow ever more industrialized, and geopolitical uncertainty in oil-producing regions means that no one can offer a confident prediction about when gas will get more affordable.

And that's unwelcome news at a time when plenty of Americans can't cover their basic household expenses. High pump prices don't seem to have made much of a dent in consumer spending, but with so many households living paycheck to paycheck, price creep in something as necessary as gasoline could put the middle class in trouble.

Balderman told reporters that gas stations in New Lenox set their prices based on what other stations in the town are doing -- not based on gas prices in nearby communities. With his call for a boycott, Baldermann evidently hopes to change that.

Baldermann hasn't always shown such concern for the taxpayer's wallet. In 2010, just before Baldermann retired as police chief of nearby Chicago Ridge, he was given a $70,000 salary bump, which may have resulted in him getting a higher pension paid out of the town police fund, the Chicago Tribune reported.