A trip to Iceland is the perfect way to have an epic adventure and to be dazzled by natural wonders. Stunning contrasts include sweeping ice-capped Highland mountains to geothermal hot springs and active volcanoes to ice caves. Reserving an Iceland camper rental to take a road trip is the best way to experience this Land of Fire and Ice.
Gas Prices in Iceland
Unfortunately, gas prices in Iceland are exceptionally high from inflation. There are several places with fairly affordable prices but generally you will be surprised by the high fuel costs. Please budget accordingly because the total cost of gas during the trip can rival the cost of your camper rental. Now hop into your car and discover where to get the cheapest fuel prices in Iceland and how to save money.
Price of Gas in Iceland Per Litre
Iceland is an expensive country to visit so it is essential to plan accordingly and budget enough for your trip. Iceland ranks as the country with the third highest fuel prices in the entire world. The highest prices are in Hong Kong with 1.91 USD for one liter/litre and 7.24 USD per gallon. The second highest prices are found in Norway where one liter is 1.77 USD and is 6.7 USD per gallon. The average price of gas in Iceland per litre is 1.72 USD (213.38 ISK per liter), which is 6.51 USD per gallon. The world average gas price is significantly lower because it is less than 1 dollar, about 0.98 USD per liter.
For diesel prices, Iceland has the highest rate in Europe. It is 1.67 USD per liter and is 6.3 USD per gallon. Norway has the second highest diesel rates with 1.65 USD per liter. The gas and diesel oil prices are so high because of taxes. Iceland doesn’t naturally produce oil and gas therefore all of it has been imported from other countries. Overall the gas price in Iceland is alarmingly high to most tourists.
Why is Iceland so Expensive?
You may be wondering, why is Iceland so expensive? It’s a combination of factors such as economics, wages, politics, and geography. For starters, the harsh geographical landscape of Iceland and the location isolated the Icelandic people for a long time. The frigid climate did not support farming and the limited native crops had short growing seasons.
Icelanders rely heavily on fish for their cuisine and then the rest of the food is imported and other goods like gas. These imported products come from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States of America, and Norway. The products include imported goods that have extra taxes are sweets, alcohol, and wheat. The consumers pay for the expense of bringing these goods into the country.
The Icelandic Króna has also become stronger after the banking crisis in 2008. This is a result of the strategic emphasis on tourism. The booming tourism industry in Iceland has caused the purchasing power of the euro and U.S. dollar to be reduced.
The largest factor for high prices in Iceland is the high standard of living for the aver person. The average median income is about 47,000 USD and this surpasses the median income in USA, which is 31,000 USD. Majority of Icelanders are also part of a labor union and earn higher wages as a result. And of course supply and demand from tourists themselves have caused a spike in prices.
Gas prices in Iceland 2019
According to Trading Economics the gas prices in Iceland 2019 fluctuated to a high of 1.83 USD per liter in February 2019. Then went to as low as 1.62 USD per liter in September 2019. It steadily increased to 1.64 and 1.67 USD per liter, in October and November respectively. In December, the price rose to 1.68 USD per liter and closed out the gas prices for 2019.
The gas prices in Iceland averaged about 1.79 USD per liter from the year 1998 to 2019. The highest gas price on record was 2.24 USD per liter in June of 2014. The lowest on record was in December of 2000 at 1.05 USD per liter.
Current Gas Prices in Iceland
Current gas prices in Iceland for January 2020 is 238.80 ISK per liter, which is 1.92 USD per liter. This has already increased from 1.68 USD per liter in December 2019. The average price of gas in the rest of the world is 182.69 ISK (1.47 USD per liter).
Where to Get Gas in Iceland
Once you rent a camper and start your drive in Iceland you will need to make frequent visits to the gas stations. The golden rule with gas stations in Iceland is to always keep your tank full. You do not want to be stuck on the side of the road miles away from the nearest gas station. Simply because you thought you could make it. You can go for hours without another person passing by. Whoever travels to Iceland for a road trip must be vigilant and make those stops for a drama-free experience.
First, the most common gas stations are N1, Olis, Orkan, and Costco Gas. N1 gas stations have 24/7 pump access. Olis gas stations have free Wi-Fi and the one located in Norðlingaholt is close to downtown Reykjavík. Orkan also 24/7 pump access and even an app you can download to locate them.
Costco gas usually has the cheapest gas but you need a Costco membership purchase it. Also, you can check the cheapest gas prices. Aside from Costco, the cheapest fuel is with Orkan at their Dalvegur location. It has gas for 1.64 USD (203.30 ISK per liter) and diesel for 1.63 USD (201.70 ISK per liter).
Remember, the gas prices are pricey so you can expect to pay between 90 to 100 USD to fill up your standard RV. And then 70 to 80 USD for an economy sized car. Make a budget in advance and accept that this is the gas price reality during your trip.
Gas Station Tips
Here are a few tips on how to navigate the gas stations without getting frustrated. You will need your debit card because the pumps only accept cards with a pin. It will not accept credit cards without a pin nor will it accept your zip code. Your card will get declined. But if you go inside to the station itself, an attendant can accept your credit card at the cash register. Please note the gas station hours because when they are closed you can only pay at the pump.
Most gas stations in Iceland are self-serve. So if you are unaccustomed to pumping your own gas you will have an opportunity to learn. Depending on the vehicle you are driving you will need either regular gas or diesel. Most diesel pumps are black, while regular gas pumps have a green handle.
When you make your gas station stop you can conveniently pick up fresh food and groceries while there. Icelandic food is something you must try. Some great options are fish jerky and Icelandic hot dogs. Food prices are generally expensive but you can save money by going grocery shopping for essentials. The gas stations usually have items like pasta, drinks and toilet paper. You can also splurge on an authentic Icelandic meal.
Another great amenity is access to free self-service car wash facilities at some gas stations. Your car is bound to become dirty from driving. For example, after driving on the Ring Road with dust blowing onto your car a free car wash is needed. A free car wash is a wonderful gift considering how everything else is so expensive. The car wash comes equipped with all items you would need like brushes and hoses.
Is Iceland Worth the Expense?
Iceland is an expensive country to visit but it has not deterred enthusiastic travelers. You can travel using budget friendly strategies, like finding free car washes and cooking your meals. When you rent a camper, choose an smaller vehicle if a four-wheel drive is not required. You can also visit during offseason like in fall or winter instead of summer.
Final verdict, Iceland is an experience of a lifetime. Save up and make budget-friendly choices. Then you can see the dancing Northern Lights in person and take a soothing bath in a natural hot spring. Don’t wait. Start planning your trip now.