Willie Wilson

After Gas Giveaway Sparks Massive Traffic Jams, Willie Wilson Plans 2nd Round

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After a gas giveaway in Chicago led to major traffic jams near a number of city gas stations, Chicago businessman Willie Wilson has announced plans to donate free gas to residents once again - this time upping the amount from $200,000 to $1 million.

Wilson said he will again work with gas station owners at 50 locations around the city and will offer drivers free gas until his $1 million is spent. Each vehicle will get up to $50 and participating gas stations will be lowering their prices during the event, which is scheduled to take place beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday.

“The need among the community is so great," Wilson, a businessman and former mayoral candidate in Chicago, said in a statement. "Soaring gas prices have caused a hardship for too many of our citizens. The average price of regular gas has gone well over $4 a gallon for the first time in nearly 14 years and is now up nearly 50 percent from last year. The war in Ukraine, a ban on Russian oil, and high taxes are contributing to rising fuel prices."

Wilson has not revealed a plan for how he plans to handle the traffic impacts of the upcoming event, however, after his previous donation led to a chaos in the streets this week.

Hundreds of people lined up for hours Thursday outside several gas stations in Chicago, hoping to get free gas amid soaring prices. But the massive lines made for major traffic backups in several city neighborhoods and sparked the need for police to help direct traffic.

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline shot up a whopping 79 cents over the past two weeks, reaching a record-setting $4.43 per gallon as Russia's invasion of Ukraine is contributing to already-high prices at the pump. As of Thursday, the average price in Illinois was $4.547 per gallon, according to auto club AAA.

A list of participating stations was expected to be announced ahead of the event.

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