Free Gas, Food Draws Crowds For Enbridge | News, Sports, Jobs


Drivers head to Carne’s Eco Fuels in Escanaba on Tuesday during a free gasoline event hosted by Enbridge. During the event, which slowed traffic along Lincoln Road, drivers received $ 25 worth of free gas, a pie and a drink. According to Enbridge, the event was intended to draw attention to the importance of pipelines and raise awareness of the proposed Line 5 tunnel project. (Daily press photo of Escanaba by Ilsa Minor)

ESCANABA – Traffic stalled as people tried to get free gas and food from Carnes Eco Fuels in Escanaba on Tuesday.

Hand drawn signs on neon colored advertising paper “Free gas” and “Free meal” drew cars in droves to the station for the event hosted by Enbridge. The energy delivery company offered anyone who stopped for $ 25 of free gasoline – pumped by Enbridge employees – a block of Gram’s Pasties and Dobber’s Pasties, and a drink just to stop.

“What we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to educate people about pipelines in general and what pipelines do, and we’re trying to raise the issue and get some support, not just for our pipelines, but the Great Lakes tunnel project ”, said Bob Lehto, regional manager of Enbridge in northern Michigan.

The proposed tunnel would place the existing twin pipelines that cross the Straits of Mackinaw inside a concrete lined tunnel one foot thick below the lake bed.

“The way we look at it is that we make a safe pipeline even more secure. Really, it reduces the risk of any sort of oil spill in the strait to virtually zero and absolutely eliminates the risk of an anchor hitting a passing ship. ” Lehto said.

The pipeline project has been a contentious issue, particularly between Enbridge and the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who opposed construction of the tunnel and attempted to shut the pipeline completely. Those who received gasoline on Tuesday were given postcards they could fill out and send to the Whitmer office directly supporting the project.

It’s hard to say if the people who get the gas supported the tunnel project itself, but there’s no denying the popularity of the free gas event. Traffic stopped from the station past the Starbucks on Lincoln Road as drivers tried to find a seat in the queue. Other drivers blocked the right lane on Ludington Street trying to turn towards the gas station, and still others tried to slip through an alley behind the station.

While being in a highly visible location for the event was one of Enbridge’s top priorities, Lehto was quick to point out that part of the decision to host the gas giveaway at Carne’s Eco Fuels was due to the friendly nature of owner Will Carne.

“Will and his team here are still friends so we thought it would be a good opportunity to partner with Carne’s and donate free gas,” Lehto said.

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