The give-a-way was sponsored by Verizon Yellow Pages and Superpages.com as a "thank you" to the Raleigh/Durham community. They offered $40 pre-paid gas cards to the first 200-vehicles.
The promotion was set to start at 11 a.m. Thursday, but around 7 a.m. a long line formed on Olympic Drive leading to Roxboro Road.
The lines were so long they had to park cars in the Durham County Stadium parking lot - a mile down the road. Jamie Wilkins arrived at 4 a.m. but was moved and didn't think she'd make it back to the pump. "The husband walked out on me a couple months ago and I'm sitting below "E". I may not make it back up the hill because they moved us over to the stadium so the Verizon guy told me if I run out of gas, he'll push me to get my $40," Wilkins said.
Verizon employees are swipping the $40 gas cards and pumping the gas into the cars.
Durham Police have been called in for security and to help direct traffic.
Drivers should prepare for $4 gas as soon as next week
Gas prices are continuing to rise and some analysts say drivers should be prepared for an average gallon to cost more than $4 by next week.
A survey by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service finds that the average national price of a gallon of regular gas rose 2.4 cents overnight to more than $3.83 a gallon. Prices are 61 cents higher than a year ago.
Some analysts say prices may rise as high as $3.90 on a national basis by this weekend. Prices are already above $4 a gallon at many stations around the country, and are averaging more than $4 in California, New York and Illinois, among other states.
Concerns about falling supplies and rising demand for oil are expected to keep propelling prices higher in the days and weeks to come.