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.
Chicago businessman and former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson announced Wednesday he would be donating $200,000 worth of gas to "alleviate some of the pain that Chicagoans are experiencing because of the highest fuel prices in 14 years."
The free gas would be available starting at 7 a.m. at participating gas stations, which were also lowering their rates during the donation period "to serve more vehicles."
Gas station owner Khalil Abdullah and Amin Ibrahim said they were lowering their prices during the giveaway to allow more people to benefit.
Gas prices dropped from $4.89 at the Citgo on Pulaski and Grand Avenues to $4.49 during the giveaway.
The giveaway was set to last until the $200,000 was spent, with each station getting $20,000.
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.
Just after 7 a.m. Thursday lines stretched for blocks as police were called to help direct traffic.
The list of participating gas stations includes:
368 E Garfield Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60615
9155 S Stony Island, Chicago, IL, 60617
1839 E 95th Street, Chicago, IL, 60617
1345 N Pulaski, Chicago, IL, 60651
9901 S Halsted St., Chicago, IL, 60628
2800 S Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL, 60623
7201 N Clark St., Chicago, IL, 60626
4359 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL, 60641
340 Sacramento Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60612
43 North Homan, Chicago, IL, 60624