Free gas Chicago: Businessman Willie Wilson expanding giveaway to suburban Cook County, donating $1M next week

CHICAGO (WLS) — Millionaire businessman and ex-mayoral candidate Willie Wilson plans to donate $1 million in free gas next week, after his free gas giveaway Thursday snarled traffic across the city but provided $200,000 worth of fill-ups.

Wilson said Friday he plans to donate $1 million in free gas next Thursday, March 24, at 50 participating locations in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

He did not immediately provide a list of participating gas stations.

Starting at 7 am, each vehicle at those gas stations will get $50 in gas until $1 million is exhausted, as residents struggle with high gas prices.

RELATED: What you can do behind the wheel to save money as gas prices keep rising

The stations will also lower their prices next week, so more people can partake, Wilson said.

On Thursday, as Wilson hosted his first gas giveaway, lines stretched for blocks all across the city. By 7 am at the Amoco located at 7201 N. Clark St. in Rogers Park, the line, which had started at 2 am, went all the way down Touhy Avenue to Sheridan Road.

WATCH: Lines wrap around blocks at gas stations across city

“I’ve been out here since 5 o’clock this morning,” said Tyensha Scott, who was waiting outside the South Lawndale Mobil at 28th Street and Kedzie Avenue.

“We gave money to buy gasoline, they can buy gas and continue to support their family,” Wilson said. “We went that route. People don’t have disposable money these days.”

Antonio Galarza, who lives in Pilsen, was waiting for his chance with an almost-empty tank. He was grateful he didn’t have to spend $50 to fill up.

“A blessing,” he said. “Thanks everybody who put the effort to help. It’s so nice.”

RELATED: When will gas prices go back down? Illinois drivers flock to Wisconsin, Indiana for cheaper fill-ups

Evanston carpenter Ricky Kimmons said the high gas prices have been hitting him hard. He was second in line in Rogers Park. It costs him $147 to fill up his Suburban.

“I was like, ‘Is this for real?’ And then I seen it on the news, so I started trying to find out the locations, and I was like ‘oh, there’s one right here by the house five minutes away.’ Got right up, came right over here,” he said. “It helps me tremendously, a whole lot, just don’t know how much I appreciate free gas right now.”

Wilson said Thursday he would like to try to do this kind of giveaway one or two more times.

WATCH: Willie Wilson talks about Chicago free gas giveaway

The atmosphere turned into a sort of tailgate in some spots, with those waiting walking their dogs and befriending others in line.

“You’re trying to provide for your family, you’re trying to … raise your children in the neighborhood, and this is a good opportunity to help us get from school back home,” Niki Hammer said.

But the free gas caused traffic gridlock around most of the stations, contributing to a tough morning commute for many.

WATCH: Chopper 7 hovers over traffic jam on 99th and Halsted caused by free gas giveaway

Chicago police were trying to direct motorists to ease the congestion.

While some praised Wilson for his generosity, others were unhappy with the traffic.

“Thank you Willie Wilson!” Melvaughn Thompson exclaimed as she jumped up and down. She was the first in line in Rogers Park.

“I am a doctoral student. I am a struggling student. I am unemployed, and I really have been struggling,” she said.

But as some received free gas, others were burning it in traffic.

“Me being frustrated? I mean if it’s worth it, if you want gas, you want free gas, then stay in a line, but, if not, then find something else to do,” Reginald Williams said.

And there was also some controversy as some drivers tried to pump premium gas and couldn’t.

“I use 93 but it’s OK,” said Regina Bailey. “One time is not going to hurt it. It’s free.”

Some angry drivers are planning to lodge complaints with the city.

Participating Gas Stations: Free Gas Starting March 24 at 7:00 am until $1 million is exhausted

washington park
Super Save at 48 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL

Calumet Heights
Citgo at 9155 S Stony Island, Chicago, IL

Jeffery Manor
Marathon at 1839 E 95th Street, Chicago, IL

Humboldt Park
Citgo at 1345 N Pulaski, Chicago, IL

Little Village
Mobil at 2800 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL

Longwood Manor
Super Save at 9811 S Halsted, Chicago, IL

Albany Park
BP at 4359 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL

East Garfield Park
Marathon at 340 S. Sacramento Blvd, Chicago, IL
Falcon at 43 North Homan, Chicago, IL

Super Save at 11100 S State Street, Chicago, IL

Park Manor
Citgo at 6700 S Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL

Grand Crossing
BP at 7600 South Chicago, Chicago, IL

BP at 3101 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

North Center
BP at 3955 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL

Fuller Park
BP at 4244 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL

Shell at 2477 S Archer, Chicago, IL
BP at 3047 S Halsted St., Chicago, IL
Citgo at 501 W 31st St., Chicago, IL

Amoco at 4401 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL

The Gap
PO Box at 342 E 35th St., Chicago, IL

Garfield Ridge
Shell at 6434 W Archer, Chicago, IL

West Elsdon
BP at 4401 W 55th St., Chicago IL

Clark at 1201 w 87th, Chicago, IL

Cook County
North Suburbs
Mobil at 1950 Green Bay Rd, Evanston, IL
Phillips at 9340 Irving Park Rd, Schiller Park, IL
Mobile at 9401 W Higgins, Rosemont, IL
Shell at 2474 Thatcher, River Grove, IL
Shell at 4555 N Nagle, Harwood Heights, IL

West Suburbs
Super Save at 101 W Madison, Maywood, IL
BP at 11201 W Cermak Rd, Westchester, IL
BP at 5201 W Cermak Rd, Cicero, IL
Amoco at 1700 N Mannheim, Stone Park, IL
Mobile at 1101 N LaGrange Park, IL
BP at 17th and Bataan, Broadview, IL
Thornton’s at 1125 25th Ave, Bellwood, IL

South Suburbs
Falcon at 18280 S Pulaski, Country Club Hills, IL
sCitgo at 13801 S Halsted, Riverdale, IL
Exxon Mobil at 1421 E Sibley Blvd, Dolton, IL
BP at 15857 S Halsted, Harvey, IL
Citgo at 15221 S Halsted, Phoenix, IL
PO Box at 5548 W 159th, Oak Forest, IL
Citgo at 11901 S Marshfield, Calumet Park, IL
Shell at 11725 S Pulaski, Alsip, IL
Thornton’s at 147th & Dixie, Dixmoor, IL
Shell at 385 Sauk Trail, Park Forest, IL

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.


Leave a Comment