Driving your own car or even renting a rental car gives you a lot of freedom to explore Norway as you see fit, and will make your visit a lot smoother than if you depend on riding the train or buses. But as you can imagine, you will need to fill your fuel tank with fuel to be able to keep driving, so what’s filling gasoline or diesel in Norway like?
Norway has plenty of gas stations all around, even in small towns and villages. All of these have fuel pumps with diesel and gasoline that you must fill yourself. You usually pay with a credit or debit card at the pump, but it’s also possible to pay inside the gas station if it’s open.
Most unmanned gas station only accept Visa or Mastercard cards with a 4 digit PIN code and a microchip (RFID chip), but manned gas stations typically accept most payment cards.
Keep in mind that there is no gas filling service in Norway, so you need to fill the tank yourself. This is a bit unusual for many tourists, but it’s very easy; just put the fuel pipe into the tank and hold down the handle.
The different types of fuel in Norway
When you arrive at a gas station, drive right up to the fuel tank. You usually have four options:
- Diesel. This has a black handle and says “Diesel”.
- Gasoline with 95 % octane. This has a green handle and will say “95 Blyfri” (95 non-leaded).
- Gasoline with 98 % octane. Also green handle, and will say “98 blyfri”.
- Tax-free diesel. This is at it’s own pump a bit away from the main gas station, and should only be used for non-road vehicles like tractors. Don’t worry about this if you drive a regular car.
Make sure to keep your head with you when you fill, since the colors tend to be opposite of what they often are in the United States where black handles are gasoline and green handles are diesel.
The fuel pump will clearly say which fuel line is which fuel, and the Norwegian word for gasoline / petrol is “bensin“, while diesel is the same in Norway. But keep in mind that gasoline / petrol / octane is just often called “95” or “98“.
In addition, most gas stations now have EV chargers where you can charge your electric car.
Paying for the fuel at Norwegian gas stations
There is about a 50 / 50 split between manned and unmanned gas stations, and the manned ones leaves you with more options when it comes to paying.
Most people pay for the fuel right at the fuel pump. There is a small banking terminal there where you can enter a payment card and use your PIN code to verify this. This allows you to just fill your tank right there and then, and your card will be charged the exact sum you fill for.
Most credit and debit cards will work, but you should bring either a VISA or a Mastercard, and not American Express or Discovery. Also make sure to have a 4 digit PIN code attached to the card, and that it has a microchip.
Both manned and unmanned gas stations allows you to pay right at the fuel pump.
Paying at manned gas stations
The other option is to pay inside the gas station at manned gas stations. You can still pay at the pump, or go inside to pay during opening hours. To pay at the gas station store, you usually have to tap a button that says “Betal i butikk” (pay inside the store) to open the fuel valve before you can start tanking. Some gas stations might require you to go inside and ask them to open the tank valve, but that’s pretty rare.
You typically tank fuel first, then pay by going inside after you are finished. Most gas stations are open between 05.00 and 23.00 or something like that, but some are also manned 24/7.
Many tourists prefer to use manned gas stations, since this is the only place where you can pay with credit cards without a PIN or even with cash. These manned gas stations also sell food, coffee, snacks, soft drinks and a lot of things you might need, so it’s a nice (but expensive) place to stop for a while.
You can also expect manned gas stations to have pretty decent restrooms where you can use the toilet.
How difficult is it to find gas stations in Norway?
Gas stations are generally very common in Norway, especially when you are closer to cities and areas with many inhabitants. You will usually never have any trouble finding a gas station nearby in most places in Norway, except for a few exceptions:
- Far north in northern Norway. Gas stations tend to be a bit more rare the further north you are, especially when you are north of Tromsø.
- Far away from towns and villages. This means that you should prepare to keep your tank at more than 50 % if you plan on crossing a mountain pass like Hardangervidda, Dovrefjell or somewhere else without people living there.
Even smaller towns and villages do have gas stations, so most people don’t really run into issues with getting enough fuel. A good rule of thumb is to keep the tank at least half-filled before you drive from one town to the next, and you are guaranteed to have enough fuel to get there.
If you are driving along major roads like the E18, expect to run across gas stations every 5 – 15 minutes. You can clearly see the gas stations from a distance by looking for their price signs along the road.
Can you buy prepaid gas cards in Norway?
Many countries allow tourists to buy prepaid gas cards that can be used at unmanned gas stations without any problems, but unfortunately Norway does not offer this. This means that you will need to rely on your debit or credit card, which can often be a bit messy in Norway if you don’t have the correct type of card.
As mentioned above, credit cards without PIN, with a 6 digit PIN or without a chip can often be turned down by the payment terminal.
My best suggestion is to make sure that you get a Visa with a microchip and a 4 digit PIN code before you visit Norway. This allows you to use 99 % of all gas stations and other payment terminals without any issues.
How expensive is gasoline and diesel in Norway?
You might expect that fuel is cheap in Norway since we are a big oil nation, but you would be totally wrong. Both gasoline and diesel is incredibly expensive in Norway.
As of summer 2022, the prices for fuel are around 23 – 25 NOK per liter of gasoline or diesel. In other words, expect to pay 91 NOK or $9.10 for a gallon of fuel.
Yes, it’s incredibly expensive, but the prices are expected to keep rising even higher. It’s no wonder that Norwegians love to drive EVs!
This article has been updated in July 2022 to reflect the increased gas prices.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.