3.9k Share this
After Wilson’s first gas giveaway last week created gridlock across the city, a larger one is happening Thursday.
This time, his team intends for their second event to operate more like carefully choreographed, charitable, chaos.
“I had no idea that it was going to be this big,” Wilson said, “but when it happened, it just exploded. And I was surprised like everybody else.”
Cars were supposed to begin lining up at 7 a.m. at 21 locations in Chicago, but not before, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications said Tuesday.
WATCH: Hundreds of cars line up for Chicago-area free gas giveaway
However, on the North Side, some cars had already begun to line up by 4:30 a.m., and the line only grew as the morning went on.
Some arguments could be seen breaking out before the gas had begun to flow.
Each car can receive up to $50 in free gas, and each station will take in up to 400 cars. Stickers will be handed out to indicate position in line.
“This time, the volunteers are going to hand out numbers from 1-400,” said Khalil Abdullah, the owner of multiple participating gas stations.
WATCH: Cicero officials prepare for free gas giveaway
Chicago police officers are going to be set up throughout the city to help with traffic control.
“Lineup will begin at 6 a.m. No one will be allowed to enter the lines prior to 6 a.m. If you are there earlier, you will be asked to leave,” Cicero Police Chief Jerry Chlada said.
By 7 a.m. in Cicero, hundreds of cars were lined up. One woman said she began circling the block at 2 a.m. so she could claim the first spot in line.
Wilson is planning to donate $1 million worth of gas to help people deal with the surging gas prices.
“There was a lot of people who didn’t get a chance to. They stood in line,” Wilson said. “I saw people in tears.”
Last week’s giveaway of $200,000 in free gas caused massive gridlock in the city.
Thursday’s giveaway will also include several locations in the suburbs — 48 locations in all.
“We think that it’s going to go well, and let’s hope that as many people can get gasoline tomorrow as possible,” Wilson said Tuesday.
“We try to help the communities. Each station gets about 20,000, so hopefully people in the surrounding area can get the benefit of this,” Abdullah added.
Park Forest police said they’ll be directing cars through a residential area to avoid backup on the major thoroughfare.
“We found out about it Saturday afternoon so it’s been kind of a rush to get things prepared,” said Deputy Chief Paul Winfrey with the Park Forest Police Department. “It took the better part of the day to try and figure out the best route that will cause the least amount of impact to residents and businesses.”
The town of Cicero and the Chicago Police Department is also working with Wilson to mitigate traffic issues this time and ensure public safety.
“Last week, we really weren’t given much notification. This time around, we had a few days extra to plan for this,” said Rich Guidice, executive director for the Office of Emergency Management and Communication.
“All side streets south of Cermak Road, between Lombard and Laramie Ave., will be closed beginning at about 3 a.m.,” Chief Chlada added.
“Best case scenario everybody is calm and polite and we get the cars lined up and we keep it moving quickly. And everybody enjoys the free gas,” Winfrey added.
Although, a spokesman for Wilson said they had “a few” suburban locations decide not to participate Thursday “for their own reasons.”
Those locations include Alsip and the Thorntons in Bellwood and Dixmoor.
The Posen Police Department posted to its Facebook page saying the gas giveaway is canceled there, as well.
It’s all expected to last about four to five hours at each station.
With prices well above $4 a gallon in some places, Thursday’s giveaway is something of a lifeline.
The stations will also lower their prices, so more people can partake, Wilson said.
The gas is expected to last until 10:30 a.m., but organizers said it could end before that.
WATCH: Willie Wilson talks about Chicago free gas giveaway
Participating Gas Stations: Free Gas Starting at 7 a.m. Thursday until $1 million is exhausted
Shell at 6129 W. North Ave., Chicago
Citgo at 5103 W. Madison Ave., Chicago
Citgo at 5150 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
Amoco at 7201 N. Clark St., Chicago
Shell at 5230 S. Western Ave., Chicago
Super Save at 48 E. Garfield Blvd., Chicago
Citgo at 1345 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago
9901 S. Halsted St., Chicago
East Garfield Park
Marathon at 340 S. Sacramento Blvd., Chicago
Super Save at 11100 S. State St. Chicago
9452 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago
Citgo at 6700 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago
BP at 7600 S. Chicago Ave., Chicago
BP at 3955 N. Western Ave., Chicago
Amoco at 4401 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago
BP at 342 E. 35th St., Chicago
Shell at 6434 W. Archer Ave., Chicago
BP at 4401 W. 55th St., Chicago
Clark at 1201 W. 87th St., Chicago
Clark at 4300 S. Union Ave., Chicago
Mobil at 1950 Green Bay Road, Evanston
Phillips at 9340 Irving Park Road, Schiller Park
Mobil at 9401 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont
Shell at 2474 Thatcher Ave., River Grove
Shell at 4555 N. Nagle Ave., Harwood Heights
Super Save at 101 W. Madison St., Maywood
BP at 11201 W. Cermak Road, Westchester
BP at 5201 W. Cermak Road, Cicero
Amoco at 1700 N. Mannheim Road, Stone Park
Mobil at 1101 N. La Grange Road, La Grange Park
BP at 17th Avenue and Bataan Drive, Broadview
Shell at 3901 S. Harlem Ave., Stickney
BP at 1309 N. 25th Ave., Melrose Park
BP at 1600 Oak Park Ave., Berwyn
Falcon at 18280 S. Pulaski Road, Country Club Hills
Citgo at 13801 S. Halsted St., Riverdale
Exxon Mobil at 1421 E. Sibley Blvd., Dolton
BP at 15857 S. Halsted St., Harvey
Citgo at 15221 S. Halsted St., Phoenix
BP at 5548 W. 159th St., Oak Forest
Citgo at 11901 S. Marshfield Ave., Calumet Park
Shell at 385 Sauk Trail, Park Forest
BP at 17450 Kedzie Ave., Hazel Crest
GoLo at 4005 W. 135th St., Robbins
Falcon at 8702 S. Roberts Road, Hickory Hills
Shell at 2401 Lincoln Highway, Olympia Fields
Mobil at 431 W. Lincoln Highway, Chicago Heights
BP at 11040 S. Pulaski Road, Oak Lawn
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.